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Confident Sharks will win grand final: ET

AAP logoAAP 25/09/2016 James MacSmith

Club great Andrew Ettingshausen believes Cronulla's 2016 squad possess the supreme self confidence crucially missing from previous Sharks sides that failed in the quest for maiden premiership glory.

The Sharks showed plenty of belief as they won their first preliminary final in a united competition in seven attempts on Friday against North Queensland, advancing to next Sunday's premiership decider against Melbourne.

Without a premiership since their foundation year of 1967, Cronulla have consistently been a club that lack killer instinct in big games, as evidenced by those preliminary finals losses in 2008, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1996 and 1988.

But Ettingshausen says those days are gone.

"These guys, I wouldn't call it arrogance, but they have a real belief in themselves," Ettingshausen told Triple M on Sunday.

"These young guys like (Valentine) Holmes and Birdy (Jack Bird) and (Ben) Barba they have this belief. They feel that they are warranted out there on the field. They feel this is where they deserve to be.

"That is going to put them in really good stead and you won't get any of those jitters that you often find from young guys going into a big match like this."

That confidence that brings premiership success has been missing from Cronulla in the past, according to Ettingshausen, who captained the Sharks when they last played a grand final, losing the Super League decider in 1998.

"You know when you are down on confidence it is very hard to turn it around. Even though physically you are 100 per cent things just don't seem to go your way, " he said.

"We had some great sides over the years but it is very hard to win a comp."

Ettingshausen, who played a record 328 games for the Sharks and scored a record 165 tries, said Melbourne were a fine team but no longer the great side they once were.

"I look at the Melbourne Storm, they are a quality team but they certainly don't have the team that they used to have when they had (Israel) Folau and (Greg) Inglis as well as (injured Billy) Slater," he said.

"They are a good team but they are certainly a team the Sharks can get over with the squad they have got.

"It has been really good to see this Sharks team develop, especially the last couple of years to see these young guys coming in.

"It wasn't that long ago that Andrew Fifita, the front-rower was the leading try scorer for the Sharks.

"It is great to see we have plenty of weapons out wide like like Barba and Bird and Holmes and a couple of great quality halves in (James) Maloney and (Chad) Townsend."

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