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The loser of Monday night's clash between Cronulla and Melbourne will not win this year's premiership.

If history is anything to go by, you can take that to the bank.

With both teams locked in a race to catch the fourth-placed Rabbitohs, a loss on Monday night would leave that team two, potentially three games a drift of the top four with just three games to play this season.

That would just about end any chance of a premiership when you look back over the competition's history.


Since the national competition was formed in 1998 no team has won the premiership from outside the top four.

Such a feat has become a near impossibility since 2012 when the NRL went away from the McIntyre finals system.

Under the current model any team who finishes in the bottom half of the eight would have to win up to four games away from home in order to taste the ultimate success.

There is always room for history to be proven wrong, as the Bulldogs very nearly did last year. After finishing the season in seventh place they enjoyed a dream finals run only to fall at the final hurdle to a determined South Sydney.

However when you consider that in the 17-year history of the NRL no team has yet won it from lower than fourth, Monday's fifth v sixth clash shapes as an elimination final come early as far as premiership aspirations go.

A red-hot Cronulla will be looking for their ninth win in 10 games but will be against a club that have beaten just once from 10 attempts.

"The Sharkies have been flying the last couple of weeks," Storm second rower Kevin Proctor said.

"They are going to be really tough, they are going really well at the moment and we are going to have to slow down their forwards if we are going to have any chance I guess."

Proctor, who will play his 150th game on Monday night, is adamant the side will not get caught up in what is at stake but will look to focus on showing a style of play that blew the Titans away in the second half last week. 

"We're probably not looking at it like that, we are just trying to string together an 80 minute performance and just trying to get better every week," Proctor said.

"I think we've just got to stay patient with our game style, it was pretty close in the first half [last week] when they had us by two points.

"We just stuck to our game plan, stayed patient and the points came in."

Kickoff with be at 7pm on Monday when Cronulla host Melbourne, with the loser likely relegated to making up the number come September.

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