One of the most elusive targets in any sport is the winning of a consecutive title. The Hawthorn Hawks were going for a fourth premiership in the 2016 AFL season, but ran out of momentum when the games truly counted.
For further proof, just ask the Denver Broncos of the NFL, who after winning it all in early 2016, find themselves rudderless and in need of a new head coach, along with sitting out the playoffs after backing an exceptional season that culminated in the Super Bowl 50 win to a season best forgotten this year.
It is therefore legitimate to doubt Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan when he issues his assertion that the Sharks can achieve the rare feat of back-to-back NRL championships.
Of course, this sort of proclamation is almost rote; after all, would anyone expect Flanagan to say that his team is, at best, middle of the pack in the upcoming season?
Sharks supporters, having waited 49 years for the breakthrough win last season, are understandably cautious for the moment, preferring to revel in the premiership and take anything good coming from the upcoming season as icing on the cake.
Brisbane was the last team to win back-to-back, over twenty years ago.