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Paul Gallen and Andrew Ettingshausen in a Walkley Award-winning image from the 2016 NRL Grand Final.

NRL photographer Grant Trouville has won the prestigious Nikon-Walkley Photo of the Year Prize after perfectly capturing the outpouring of emotion that followed Cronulla’s history-making 2016 Telstra Premiership Grand Final victory.

Trouville's iconic image '50 Years of Tears' showed Cronulla captain Paul Gallen and club legend Andrew Ettingshausen in an emotional embrace following the Sharks triumph – a thrilling 14-12 win over the Melbourne Storm.

Trouville said the emotions expressed by Gallen and Ettingshausen echoed the feelings of all Sharks fans who had shared in the club's five-decade wait for grand final glory.

"This image shows the outpouring of emotion from the last 50 years for the Cronulla Sharks," he said.

"The two greatest ever players to put on the Sharks jersey coming together. A thank you from the former captain and club legend to the current captain.

"The trophy cabinet will never be empty again."

In awarding the prize, Walkley judges commented: "This is the shot. It's full of emotion and iconically Australian."

The Walkley awards recognise excellence in photojournalism across a range a range of genres, from news and sport to photographic essays.