Cronulla goes into party mode
Photo Source: AAP
Cronulla has gone into party mode, with over 10,000 fans packing out Southern Cross Group Stadium for the Sharks' NRL premiership celebration.
The players looked bleary-eyed after Sunday night's grand final triumph as they took to the stage at their home ground on Monday.
"It's so good. This is what you do it for," retiring hooker Michael Ennis said.
To the strains of club song Up, Up Cronulla, the players were given a hero's welcome by their fans.
Coach Shane Flanagan and skipper Paul Gallen were given the key to the Sutherland Shire after masterminding the club's drought-breaking title win.
The massive crowd called for Ennis to stick around for one more year, breaking into the 'Shark Clap' when he took the microphone.
Last month the scheming No.9 caused a stir when he celebrated the Sharks' qualifying win over Canberra by imitating the Raiders fans' famous clap.
While his post-game celebration drew the ire of Canberra coach Ricky Stuart, the fans let him know they were squarely in his corner.
"I kind of don't want it to end," Ennis said after admitting he only got a few hours sleep.
"I never dreamed it would end like this. I remember being in the change room when Shane Webcke got his grand final win in 2006. It's just such a special day. I'm not in Shane Webcke's calibre but it's pretty cool."
After partying at Sharkies Leagues Club all night, many queued for over two hours along Captain Cook Drive to get into the ground for the club's fan day and to catch a glimpse of their grand final heroes.
Some looked worse for wear, with one young man passing out in a deck chair with a beer in his hands on the back of a truck parked in the leagues club parking lot.
When he was startled awake by a camera crew filming him, he instantly launched into a rendition of Up, Up Cronulla.
The club's No.1 ticketholder, local member and federal Treasurer Scott Morrisson said it was rich reward for the community.
"I'm just so proud," Morrison told AAP.
"I've been a fan for 10 years since I moved down here. The club embraced me and I embraced them."