Cronulla became drought-breakers and proved fairytales do come true by defying modern day history makers Melbourne to claim their maiden NRL premiership in Sydney last night.

After half a century of waiting including three losing grand final appearances in 1973, 1978 and 1997, the Sydney beachside outfit finally shed their bridesmaids tag and captain Paul Gallen cemented his place in Sharks immortality with a gritty 14-12 win over the Storm in front of a capacity ANZ Stadium crowd.

After being thoroughly dominated in the first half and behind 8-0, the Melbourne juggernaut finally began rolling in the second-half with captain Cameron Smith converting two quick tries to Kiwis international Jesse Bromwich and centre Will Chambers to claim an unlikely four-point advantage.

But just as the Storm threatened to break the hearts of long-suffering Sharks fans, controversial Sharks forward Andrew Fifita wrestled his way past five defenders for his side's second try with outstanding five-eighth James Maloney adding the extras off the boot to reclaim a match-winning two-point lead.

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"To all you people back in the Shire, turn your porch lights off because we're coming home with the trophy!" a jubilant Gallen declared before raising the Provan-Summons trophy.

"We just played for each other all year and tonight we hung in there.

"To all the fans, you've waited 50 years for this and to all you former players, guys who busted their backsides for the club, I hope you enjoy it."

Relentless Sharks back-rower Luke Lewis won the Clive Churchill medal, and after playing on the wing in Penrith's 2003 title winning side, the 33-year-old veteran, together with Fifita, Gallen and Matt Prior, helped Cronulla get on top of the highly-rated Storm pack.

The historic victory follows two tumultuous years for the Sharks after they finished 2014 as wooden spooners and with their reputation in tatters and their finances in disarray following the ASADA scandal and numerous off-field dramas.

The result is a fitting reward for one-club stalwart Gallen, in his first grand final appearance after 15 seasons with the Sharks, and retiring hooker Michael Ennis in his 273rd and final game, while Maloney secured his second title win in his third decider with three different clubs in six years.

From the kick-off, Melbourne were ambushed by the Sharks defensive aggression and urgency, while the speed and intensity of Cronulla's go-forward and disrupted and exhausted the Storm's key playmakers.

The influence of Melbourne's 300-game duo Cooper Cronk and Smith - the exalted club, Queensland and Australian half and hooker combination - usually so dominant in dictating the pace and flow of games, was largely restricted as Cronulla dominated across the park.

Maloney was a pivotal and composed figure throughout, steering the Sharks attack with his sharp running, passing and kicking, and making an important break that saw Lewis come close to scoring in the lead-up to Barba's try.

The second-half began with Cronulla further asserting their dominance before the Storm showed just why they have been the benchmark side over the past decade as they launched a courageous comeback.

Even after Fifita's four-pointer the game remained in the balance and Cronulla were forced to endure some nervous moments up until the last play but possessed the composure and grit to hang on for the long-awaited win.

Sharks 14 (Ben Barba, Andrew Fifita tries, Maloney 2 cons, Maloney pen)
Storm 12 (Will Chambers, Jesse Bromwich tries, Cameron Smith cons 2)