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Club: Cronulla Sharks
Finished: 9th
Record: 12-12 (+32)
Players Used in 2014: 57
Season Highlight: Producing a number of NRL debutants in what was a tough year for the club
Season Lowlight: Four losses by four points or less in a six week period mid-season which ultimately cost them a chance at defending their Premiership

Summary: It was certainly a tough season for last year’s defending Premiers as the Cronulla Sharks missed the top eight and never really appeared to be a threat of defending their title.

With a list that would have been the envy of many other clubs at the beginning of the year, the Sharks failed to generate the type of continuity that saw them sweep all before them in the 2013 season.

The Sharks second tier side was the major casualty of what was a very tough year for the club on and off the park, and with suspensions and injuries wreaking havoc on Tony Herman’s ability to field his ideal side on any given week, perhaps a season with 12 wins and 12 losses and a positive for and against was not necessarily all that bad.

The Sharks were forced to play 57 different players in 2014 and when you compare that to the 43 that they used in 2013, it is not surprising to see why the club struggled this year.

But for all of the doom and gloom, there were still plenty of positives for the club to take out of the year.

Circumstances forced them to blood some young talent both at this level and also the NRL level with guys such as Jacob Gagan, Sione Masima, David Fifita and Valentine Holmes all getting NRL debuts in 2014.

In terms of their on-field performance, the chemistry just didn’t appear to be there for the Sharks for the majority of the season. Despite still fielding a star studded roster, this year saw the Sharks field a very different side from the one that claimed last year’s premiership. The Sharks had to continually chop and change their halves throughout 2014 while in 2013 Chad Townsend was there steering the ship for the most part, and this factor cannot be overstated when looking back on their success or lack thereof.

We’ve always made mention of the potential downside to the Sharks relationship with Melbourne in the past and while it all fell into place in 2013, and clearly assisted the club in claiming the premiership, it could easily be said that things just didn’t quite work out the same way in 2014.

But regardless of the pros and cons of the above arrangement, it will no longer be a factor as the Sharks have announced that they will be aligning themselves with the Newtown Jets from the 2015 season in an arrangement that should be far more convenient than their previous one with the Storm.

Conclusion: Clearly missing the finals would be viewed as a disappointment but while everything went right for them in 2013, not a lot did in 2014 and that was reflected by their finishing position.

Score: 6.5/10

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