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The Sharks will be out to repeat the effort of the Cronulla-Sutherland's first ever winning team - against the Roosters back in April 1967.

When the Sharks and Roosters run out onto Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon, it will mark almost 48 years to the day that Cronulla made their debut first-grade appearance.

Their opponents on April 2, 1967? Eastern Suburbs.

The venue? The Sydney Sports Ground.

Roosters v Sharks preview

Cronulla will be hoping this isn't where the comparisons with their inaugural game end, with the Sharks recording their maiden victory on that day, 11-5 over the club now known as the Sydney Roosters. 

That Sharks side featured such names as Warren Ryan, fullback Brian Cox, as well as halfback and 1968 Rothmans Medal winner Terry Hughes, who proved the difference, kicking four goals. 

When asked about that day in 1967, Hughes said the side had one goal in mind.

"Our main thought was that we were going to be competitive and at least prove that we deserved to be there," Hughes told 

"It's probably a big step up from second division, your first game in first grade. You're looking at it and hoping that you're good enough to play at that level and that as a team you're going to be competitive."

For Easts, it was their first game under the tutelage of master coach Jack Gibson, who was appointed after the Tricolours finished the 1966 season with a record of no wins and 18 losses.

"Kenny McMullen was the captain of Easts that day, and he came into our dressing room after the game to congratulate us on winning our first game, and I think his last comment was 'I don't know who needed to win more, you or us!'" Hughes quipped.

"I think it was relief to say that we didn't make a fool of ourselves."

Unfortunately for Hughes and the rest of that Sharks side, succuss wasn't to follow in 1967, with the club finishing with three wins from 22 games and the dreaded wooden spoon.

"We won that first game and... I don't think we thought we were going to be world-beaters, but at least we felt we deserved to be there, and that we were going to be competitive during the year. 

"Those were our thoughts at that stage, that proved to be a little bit over-ambitious later on in the year, but that's the way it is."

One teammate Hughes remembers fondly is lock Eric Barnes, who he described as a "tall, wiry character that just worked all day".

"There wasn't much of him, he was just one of those 110 per cent players. He tackled all day, he ran all day, and just never gave up. He was just so whole-hearted, he really was an inspiration," Hughes said.

When asked about comparisons between Barnes and current Sharks lock and captain Paul Gallen, Hughes said physically both players couldn't be further apart. 

"Paul's a big, solid bloke, Eric was a string bean. That was the thing that made it all the more amazing.

"He had the same work rate as 'Gal', but just wasn't as physically big. That's why I think everyone got inspiration just watching him."

While it's been a tough start to 2015 for the Sharks, with four losses from as many starts, Hughes believes there are better times ahead for the club from the Shire.

"I think they've got the makings of a good side, the skill level is there, I just think they're trying too hard at the moment. I think they're all worried about not winning instead of just doing their job and trusting their mate next to them," Hughes said.

"Once they win the first one, it'll just be a matter of getting better and better. I hope, anyway.

"They've got the players to be a good side, I don't think there's any question about that."

It's going to take a mighty effort from the Cronulla side to get one over the Roosters, but we can't forget what happened at Allianz Stadium in Round 17 last year. A similar performance will no doubt be required if the Sharks are to replicate the heroics of 1967.

"We've just got to live in eternal hope, which is something Sharks supporters have been doing for 48 years, I'm afraid!"

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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