Die-hard Cronulla fan Brendan Cowell believes this is finally the Year of the Shark.

Sharks to win David and Goliath battle

"Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground." - 1 Samuel 17:49

Not sure if you have noticed of late but brand new Sharks fans are coming out of the woodwork. 

Like some kind of lifelong sympathy case, people are texting me saying 'Hey buddy, I'm on the Sharks!' like we should be grateful as long-termers. 

Because it has been a sentence for us. A long and difficult stretch to serve, and the only way for us to truly feel the breeze of freedom is for Sir Gallen to hold that bloody trophy up come Sunday night. New bandwagon believers are not what we need because we have come this far without them.

There is no reason to list the tyranny of obstacles that have faced the Shire boys in their 50-year run. Everyone knows the near-misses, the drug sagas and the scandals that nearly broke us. I actually wonder if the new fans are truly passionate about Cronulla, or is it more a case of 'I go for my team and anyone playing the Storm'. In that case, I hear you buddy. You are welcome. Take a seat in the cage!

I have recently finished a long run of theatre on the London stage and am now wandering around Florence with my mother in what you may refer to as a Mildly Mad and mostly Merlot-driven Monday. My social media feed is flooded with 'Are you coming back for the big one?' 'Will you record a video for my blah blah!', and 'Make sure you try the wild boar pizza!'

But I'm not coming back. 

Because ever since I left Australia the Sharks have been winning, and not that I am superstitious (hell, I hate it when a DJ plays that song – it is a clear sign they lack imagination) but we have come this far with me on the other side of the planet... why tip the balance now? 

I've had too many sad September nights trying to get back on the train in Concord with a head full of sorrow and a $9 beer. It's better this way. I'll watch this game in a pond of piranhas, as long as we win!

 

Last night my mother and I visited the statue of David at the Galleria dell'Accademia, in the north part of Florence city. A masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture, the 17-foot specimen stands slender yet imposing with sling in one hand and rock in the other, graceful yet determined. 

Aficionados still struggle to agree on whether the work depicts the young man pre or post battle, as his disposition is of a naive, innocent man, calmly prepared for what may come next. And this is when it struck me, staring up at this dynamic work of complex genius: the Sharks are going to win. We are going to win. 

Those big, mean Storm players with their horrid, beastly tactics – that purple army tank – they are Goliath, and they will fall come Sunday. 

The Sharks are not the dolphins of old, afraid of winning, embarrassed and confused by what went wrong mid-season. We have wisdom now. We have poise now. We are armed and naked and ready to strike at any moment. 

Have you not noticed the rise in shark attacks throughout the year? Sharks pouncing on innocent kids, professional surfers and fishermen throughout the nation? Yeah, that's us. We have been warming up and no one is safe, not even in the Yarra, I am afraid! 

Look, I know we lack invention, stealing Canberra's cheer, but winning is new to us. Winning is a new feeling we are only now coming to enjoy. But we will enjoy it, the taste of blood. We will drink it and we will let it spill down our chin because we are wise now, and we are free. I'm sorry Cameron but you cannot wrestle or wriggle or whine your way out of this one. 

The Sharks are coming home and not even the porch light is safe. We might just eat that too! 

Up up Cronulla! It's our time.

 

 

Game on. Data off.

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