The rivalry between the Melbourne Storm and Cronulla Sharks will now forever be framed around last year’s classic grand final, but the clubs have produced several memorable regular season showdowns.
Ahead of tonight’s Grand Final Rematch Part II, Throwback Thursday relives one of the great buzzer-beaters of the NRL era.
Squaring off at AAMI Park in the penultimate round of 2012, the Storm took an early lead over the Sharks through a Sisa Waqa try, but Sam Tagataese’s reply gave the visitors a 6-4 advantage at the break.
Sharks flyer Nathan Stapleton and Storm back-rower traded tries, before fullback Isaac Gordon looked to have sealed an upset for Cronulla with a four-pointer to make it 18-10.
But Hoffman bagged his second in the 78th minute, and Melbourne snatched a nerve-shredding 20-18 victory when Waqa – ignoring blue-chip playmakers Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater – took a blindside gamble from dummy-half and put Will Chambers over in the corner with only 20 seconds on the timepiece.
The heart-breaker cost Cronulla a home final and they were bundled out by Canberra in week one, while Melbourne went on to defeat Canterbury in the grand final.