Rugby League reporter @JennaBrooks
Inside the NRL: Countdown to the Decider
Last Updated: 26/09/16 2:25pm
Jenna Brooks wraps up the latest from the NRL as we count down to the NRL decider, plus a legendary act by a legendary player - is Johnathan Thurston the nicest guy in the game?
Cronulla are just 80 minutes away from making history and winning their first NRL Premiership, after they outplayed the reigning champions North Queensland 32-20.
Man-of-the-match James Maloney scored 18 points to help the Sharks into the decider for the first time in almost two decades. It is his third Grand Final in six years. Having made the showcase event in 2011 with the Warriors, before helping the Sydney Roosters go all the way in 2013.
Maloney insists there is nothing stopping Cronulla from making history on Sunday: "We've done everything right to get here. It's just about making sure we nail what we have to do this week and don't let in the outside focus of the what if.
"And sort of forget the 80 minutes that's ahead because it's going to be a big 80 minutes."
Cronulla will play Melbourne in the Grand Final after the Storm held on to beat Canberra 14-12 on Saturday.
With just 16 minutes remaining the Storm led 14-6 after Raiders full-back Jack Wighton was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul. But Canberra were back in the game on 75 minutes when former Catalans second-rower Elliott Whitehead touched down in the corner to help get his side within two points.
But that's where it ended. Melbourne sealed the win and advanced to their first Grand Final since 2012, when they beat the Bulldogs.
Sunday will see the two State of Origin captains go head-to-head, as Queensland and Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith competes for NRL's showpiece with New South Wales and Cronulla captain Paul Gallen.
Despite past differences, the pair have a lot of respect for one another.
"I'm pleased for Gal," Cameron said. "He has waited a long time for this. He works hard every time he pulls on the jersey. He has given a lot to the Cronulla club over many years."
Before kick-off last Friday the Sharks confirmed their veteran captain has committed to a 17th NRL season after signing a new one-year deal.
Legendary act by a legendary player
Johnathan Thurston has taken another step towards not just being arguably the greatest player in the world, but one of the nicest, too. Despite his Cowboys trailing 14-0 at halftime, the star halfback was seen giving his headgear to a young Sharks supporter. What a legend!
Thankfully for league fans, we haven't seen the last of Thurston for 2016. The playmaker has confirmed his availability for the Four Nations, and will tour England in the coming months.
"I've got no injuries, so I'll be putting my hand up for the Four Nations," Thurston said.
Australia coach Mal Meninga will name his 24-man Four Nations squad this week, with reports suggesting the focus will be on a younger team, looking towards the future.
Despite Kangaroo veterans Paul Gallen and Corey Parker both putting their hands up for selection, the pair will have to wait and see if they retain their place in the national side, with a number of youngsters looking to win their first caps.
After James Maloney's impressive performance on Friday, the five-eighth could also be considered as a back-up half to tour England.