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Like the obdurate tailender who bats deep into the next day's play, Cronulla's interim NRL coach Josh Hannay is the nightwatchman who refuses to be dismissed.
Hannay joked he was the "NRL nightwatchman" after stepping in as Sharks' coach when John Morris was sacked in April, after an earlier caretaker stint at North Queensland last year.
Fast forward 18 games and Hannay has the Sharks to the cusp of the NRL finals, with their fate in their own hands heading into Friday's clash with Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium.
A victory over the minor premiership-chasing Storm would secure the eighth-placed Sharks a finals berth for the seventh-straight season.
It would be an achievement of significant personal pride for Hannay but also reward for a Sharks group that had slipped as low as 14th on the ladder early in his interim reign.
"It's been a rugged year. Faced a lot of challenges and adversity of all different shapes and sizes," Hannay said.
"It's been a hard year but also a very rewarding year - a very satisfying year - to see this group be able to continually overcome the challenges I speak of.
"In my opinion we deserve to get to the finals. It'd be a satisfying achievement if we could get there and then if we do get there then we get to reset and then focus on a new competition."
Hannay admitted there was a sigh of relief when he saw the Storm team for this week, with Craig Bellamy resting several key players including Cameron Munster, Christian Welch, Felise Kaufusi and Jesse Bromwich.
Despite the alterations, he is also wary of taking anything for granted against a Melbourne side that still boasts the talents of Ryan Papenhuyzen, Nicho Hynes, Jahrome Hughes and Brandon Smith.
"That's still a spine that would be the envy of most clubs in this competition, so there's some guys that they're missing but geez they're still a really good side," Hannay said.