NRL Expert @JennaBrooks
Inside the NRL: Cronulla make history and Dally M medal shared for the second time
Last Updated: 03/10/16 3:33pm
Jenna Brooks wraps up another spectacular NRL season as Cronulla make Rugby League history, plus the award winners from NRL's night of nights.
Half a century in the making
"Turn your porch lights off, we're coming home with the trophy," Paul Gallen said as he stood on stage in front of more than 83,000 fans at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.
Cronulla made Rugby League history when they beat Melbourne 14-12 in Sunday's Grand Final, winning the Premiership for the first time since the club was founded in 1967.
Despite a brilliant opening 40 minutes, the Sharks only led 8-0 at half-time after a Ben Barba try and four points from the boot of James Maloney. But after the break, the Storm came out firing.
Jesse Bromwich touched down against the run of play to get Melbourne within two, before Will Chambers scored in the 64th minute to give the Storm a 12-8 lead.
With 10 minutes remaining it looked like Cronulla would again come up short, but Andrew Fifita crashed over to seal the fairytale win and hand Sharks supporters their maiden premiership.
"I am lost for words," Fifita said. "To score the winning try is incredible, I don't know where it came from. I was just rolling."
Cronulla's two-point win comes just two years after they won the wooden spoon. "I can't tell you how good I feel," Gallen said. "I can't believe this, after all the hard work we have put in, it is incredible."
Melbourne captain Cameron Smith, who completed 74 tackles, was humble in defeat.
"You guys have been waiting a very long time for this moment," said Smith. "It's taken a lifetime and I hope you enjoy it."
Luke Lewis was awarded best on field, making 148 metres and 28 tackles to take home the Clive Churchill medal.
"To my boys, this ain't possible without the work of you boys and I love you all," said Lewis.
And the 2016 Dally M medallists are ….
For just the second time in the history of the Dally M awards, two players have shared the top prize. Melbourne half-back Cooper Cronk and North Queensland forward Jason Taumalolo were crowned joint Dally M medallists for 2016.
The only other time the award was shared was in 2014, when Johnathan Thurston and Jarryd Hayne jointly claimed the prize.
Cronk, who won the award in 2013, became just the eighth player to be given the prestigious medal on more than one occasion. As for Taumalolo, he was the first forward to win the prize since Melbourne captain, Cameron Smith, ten years ago.
England international Josh Hodgson was a favourite to pick up the honour after a brilliant season with the Canberra Raiders, but to the surprise of many the star hooker didn't even finish in the top five.
However, Hodgson's impressive form was noticed by his club. The former Hull KR and Hull FC No 9 was named Canberra's joint player of the year alongside Josh Papalii.
Hodgson's coach, Ricky Stuart picked up the Dally M Coach of the Year Award, with Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker named Captain of the Year.