The Cronulla Sharks and Penrith Panthers are both coming off dramatic four point victories in their Preliminary Final games and now have a chance to etch their names in the history books by winning the Jersey Flegg Cup Grand Final since 2007.
Both teams have had their share of success over each other in 2018, with the Panthers claiming an 18-10 victory in Week One of the Finals – avenging their heart-breaking 25-24 loss to the Sharks in Round 20.
The Panthers enjoyed the week off following that fierce encounter which meant the Sharks had to do it the hard way – starting with a convincing 30-10 win over the Bulldogs and a thrilling 26-22 victory over Mounties in the Preliminary Final.
The performances across their games against each other show that very little separates the two sides, much alike their finishes on the competition ladder with the Sharks ranked second at the end of the regular season and the Panthers just one place behind.
The Sharks cemented themselves as one of the most potent attacking teams in the competition as they are ranked third for tries scored (107) and second for line-breaks (134). Meanwhile, the Panthers have built their season on their formidable defence as they are ranked first in total points conceded (313).
While those strong efforts in defence were evident in their emphatic Preliminary Final against the Knights (2018 Minor Premiers), it was their ability to score in the final play of the game that caught the eye of most – proving their potency through the likes of Daine Laurie, Thomas Lofts and Shawn Blore will be tough to handle.
Expect both sides to race out of the blocks with plenty of aggression and enthusiasm, with the Sharks searching for their maiden Jersey Flegg premiership while the Panthers will look for their third consecutive Grand Final triumph (winners in 2006 and 2007).