Cronulla Sharks: The run home...

What a difference a year makes! Tipped as contenders for the '09 title after their miraculous run to within one game of the Grand Final in '08, the Sharks floundered early in the season and looked about as effective as a school of guppies, losing nine of their first ten games. <br><br>They then won four on the trot before losing their last three encounters, although they showed plenty of their characteristic fight in last week’s loss to Manly.<br><br>It really is hard to decide what to make of the Sharks in '09. Are they severely underachieving or are they just plain unlucky? One thing is for sure - the tidal wave of off field dramas which hit the Shire club this year could not have helped.<br><br>The fact remains - Cronulla simply haven’t scored enough points to make the grade this year. That said, they are a evolving into a dangerous team and while their chances of September action are now most likely sleeping with the fishes, they are still causing headaches for unsuspecting opposition.<br><br><b>The Run home:</b> Storm (A), Eels (H), Broncos (A), Wests Tigers (H), Titans (A), Sea Eagles (A), Rabbitohs (H).<br><br>If Cronulla are to have any chance of achieving what looks to be an impossible dream, they will have to win all their remaining games, beginning with the Storm at Olympic Park this weekend.<br><br>While the Storm have buried many a team at ‘the graveyard’, they have been vulnerable of late - losing two of their last three to Canberra and Parramatta. They have also been beaten at Olympic Park by the Titans this year and drawn with the Warriors, and the Sharks beat them there in 2008. The moral of the story for Sharks fans? Don't give up all hope, at least not yet.<br><br><b>Players to Watch:<br>Trent Barrett</b> – It may be obvious, but Barrett is in some serious form and those who doubted him at the start of the year have kept quiet as the Sharks' big recruit has oozed class at club and Origin level. His combination with Scott (insert colourful nickname) Porter growing better by the day and if these two can continue to improve, the Sharks can be dangerous. <br><br><b>Paul Gallen </b>– If ferocity had a human as a definition, it’s fair to assume that Paul Gallen would claim the mantle. The former captain has been MIA since round 16 and without a doubt Cronulla have missed his presence on the field. A match winner on his day, the strength of Gallen is exactly what the Sharks need in the run to the finals.<br><br><b>Predicted Finish: </b>15th