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Sharks forward Luke Lewis was immense for his side in the 2016 grand final.

Cronulla back-rower Luke Lewis insists the side will need to improve dramatically against the top-of-the-table Melbourne Storm in the grand final rematch at AAMI Park on Sunday.

With the news that Cooper Cronk will depart the highly-successful club at the end of 2017, the motivation to send him off a winner will only spur the Storm on for the remainder of the year.

While the Sharks broke their premiership drought in the grand final last year, the Clive Churchill medalist knows Melbourne will want to seek some revenge for the 14-12 defeat in October.

"I haven't thought too much about it being the grand final replay, it is what it is and we are going to have to play them eventually," Lewis said.

"It was obviously good to get that one up on them last year but it's going to be a different ball game on Sunday afternoon.

"We have to improve everywhere, they're a class act all over the field.

"We know what is killing us… it's our errors and they're keeping teams in the game against us and if we do that with Melbourne they will put 20-30 on us.

"We just switched off but we can't do that with any side and Newcastle made us pay and got back in the game.

"We didn’t show them enough respect. We were very similar last year and it's still only early days. 

"We would make breaks and didn't know how to finish them off but we've just got to keep learning and taking information on board.

"If we can control errors and our penalties, we will tire teams out more."

Lewis also paid tribute to Sharks veteran Chris Heighington on reaching 300 career games in the Telstra Premiership as the former Panther also eyes off the milestone later in the year. 

"He's a champion, Heighno," he said.

"It's been a real pleasure playing alongside him for the last five years and I'm just really happy we got the win for him.

"He's a good fella and when some of the boys are a bit down or flat he will try and pump everyone up.

"He likes to have a bit of a joke and I guess you can call him the glue.

"I've got a lot of time for him."

Sitting on 289 games, Lewis doesn’t want to look too far ahead at the thought of joining his teammate in the illustrious 300 club, but admits it would be a special milestone to reach.

Current NRL stars Johnathan Thurston (297 games) and Paul Gallen (284) are also within reach to join Heighington by the end of the season.

"I just go with the flow… it's another game each week, it would be nice to get there but there is a lot of hard work to get there first," Lewis said. 

"I've got to make sure I'm putting the right foot forward so we'll see how we end up.

"It's crazy and awesome to think about it, by the end of the year there will probably be 30 players in the history so it's pretty special.

"It's a great accolade for individuals but for me it will just be another game that we will need to win."


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