Will an Australian sporting title drought end next weekend?

Cronulla Sharks fans have been waiting 49 years for the club's first title. Photo /Getty
Cronulla Sharks fans have been waiting 49 years for the club's first title. Photo /Getty

Two grand finals, two of Australia's biggest sporting title droughts on the verge of ending.

For the Western Bulldogs it's been 62 years since the club's last AFL premiership. For the Cronulla Sharks it's been 49 years in the NRL and the club has yet to claim a maiden title.

Will success finally come for their long-suffering fans of both clubs? 2016 already could be described as the year of the drought-busters.

Leicester City won the English Premier League title for the first time in the club's 132-year history while the Cleveland Cavaliers claimed their first title in 46 years after beating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals.

The Hurricanes won their maiden Super Rugby title, after previously losing two finals, with a convincing victory over the Lions in Wellington while Portugal claimed their first ever major football title by beating France in the European Championship final.

The Sharks booked their spot in the NRL grand final on Saturday and will face the Melbourne Storm in Sunday's grand final - two years after claiming the wooden spoon and having coach Shane Flanagan banned for a year following the club's supplements scandal.

The Sharks, established in 1967, have never won a premiership having lost their four previous grand final appearances. The club first made a grand final in 1973, going down to Manly 10-7. Cronulla lost to Manly once again in 1978 when a grand final replay was needed after the first grand final ended 11-11. Manly won the rematch 16-0 three days later with the final being played on a Tuesday. The Sharks only other grand final was the 1997 Super League final where they lost 26-8 to Brisbane.

The Warriors and the Titans are the only other NRL sides yet to claim their maiden premiership titles.

At least the Sharks have been to the final in recent times, unlike the Western Bulldogs.

Saturday's AFL grand final against the Sydney Swans will be the Bulldogs first shot at a premiership since 1961. Saturday's opponents the Swans have won four premierships since 2005.

The Bulldogs have fallen one game short of the grand final five times since 1997, including three straight seasons 2008-2010.

This year is the 92nd season for the Bulldogs, formally known as Footscray. 92 seasons just one title, which came in 1954.

It's the longest title drought in the AFL. The Melbourne Demons last won a title in 1964 while St Kilda's only premiership came in 1966.

If the Sharks and Bulldogs both win next weekend, it could be a good omen for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs have the longest active title drought in American sports having last won baseball's World Series in 1908. The Cubs became the first side the clinch a spot in the playoffs earlier this month.

- NZ Herald

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