Fate gets Sharks home in fairytale GF
Photo Source: AAP
If it wasn't the weight of possession, then it was the weight of history.
For if anything was going to get Cronulla past this seemingly impenetrable Melbourne defence; if anything was going to get the Sharks into the record books, it was fate.
Never mind that the Storm had turned away a ridiculous 48 plays inside their own red zone, compared to a paltry 13 down the other end.
Never mind that the all-too-familiar names of Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk had stolen themselves a late lead when they barely deserved one.
Never mind that, after a relentless assault on their line in the first half, Smith already had 37 tackles to his name. A shoulder-numbing 72 by the end of it.
Never mind too, that at different stages at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night, Chad Townsend, Matt Prior, Wade Graham and Jayson Bukuya all took head knocks.
Sosaia Feki hurt his knee, and Jack Bird played through a hyper-extended elbow. Skipper Paul Gallen, a tearful mess at fulltime with a sore back.
But after 49 years without a premiership, a 15-game winning streak this season and a side that seemed perfectly assembled for finals football, the Sharks' had a golden chance.
And they took it - with a little old school style.
"They just went out there a million miles an hour and haven't stopped. It's been an amazing performance," Channel Nine commentator and league legend Andrew Johns said.
At the eight minute mark, Ben Barba ran off Paul Gallen from a scrum move.
"This has got 1980s written all over it," Peter Sterling said.
Then in the 69th minute, Andrew Fifita carried five opponents over from close range in the match winning play.
A burden had well and truly been lifted.