The iconic moments from the 2016 NRL Telstra Premiership season which will be forever etched into Cronulla folklore have been immortalised in a new book labelled ‘Premiers’ to be launched at a Sharks membership event on Saturday.
NRL Photos lead photographer Grant Trouville grew up a diehard Sharks fan and lives just a stone’s throw away from Southern Cross Group Stadium, so the chance to capture Cronulla’s drought-breaking premiership was a work of passion.
“I live 500 metres from the stadium, so I put myself on as many Sharks games as I can, it’s pretty easy being local. I’ve been a Sharks fan all my life, so it was an incredible experience,” Trouville told NRL.com.
“I had the whole year documented and I wanted to share it with everyone. A lot of photos we take at games never really get seen; they get to see a few, but there are a heap that go unseen.
“I had seven photographers working with me at the grand final so the amount of photos you get is unreal. So to get the best ones from that and to get them printed is a great feeling. It is a great team and they have done a fantasic job all season.”
Trouville and his NRL Photos team captured some truly iconic images from the 2016 season including captain Paul Gallen shedding tears with Cronulla legend Andrew Ettingshausen, but Trouville has no doubt about his favourite photos.
“My favourite shot in the book, there is a double page spread of Paul Gallen laying on the field, just after the grand final,” he said.
“I remember pretty clearly, it was three seconds after the buzzer went and I sprinted from my spot on the sideline straight to him. He was laying on the ground, with his hands over his eyes, sort of crying. No-one had got to him yet and it was a really nice moment. He was all by himself on the grass. He then rolled over and I captured that shot.”
“I normally go to the winning captain, I usually have a pretty good feel on the game towards the end and I knew Gal was the guy who we needed to get. I found myself just looking around a bit stunned as a fan. There was so much going around me, I didn’t know what to take photos of. It was my 16th grand final working, but it was the best feeling being a part of that one.”
The hard-cover book is brilliantly presented and contains over 200-plus pages of historic images, some never before seen by the public. Grant’s personal and professional relationship with the club allowed him unprecedented access to cover the special moments like never before.
“The other shot I really like, because I have a really good relationship with the Sharks guys, I was given really good access to the team; I pretty much stayed with the team from the buzzer until they went back to the Sharks leagues club,” Trouville said.
“I was waiting for them in the sheds and went up the stairs with the players and I got a shot of Luke Lewis carrying the trophy up the back stairwell and I just love the intimacy of that shot. It was pretty unique, it was one of those situations where there was an awesome vibe and I was lucky to be there.
“And then they opened the door and were presented to the fans and it was such a special moment.”
‘Premiers’ is available now on pre-order, or at the Sharks Store.