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Sosaia Feki   Digital Image by Brett Crockford © :	    NRL, Rugby League, Round 3,  Melbourne Storm v  Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks @ AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC, Saturday 21 March, 2015.

In continuing their disappointing start to the 2015 season, the Sharks have gone down by 36-18 to the Melbourne Storm.

The Sharks were somewhat off the pace in the first half and despite showing some signs of improvement late in the second period had given their opponents too much start to seriously mount a challenge.

The match began with the Storm full of running and after a Sharks kick on the fifth tackle went out on the full, Melbourne took advantage of the gifted field position, Tohu Harris barging over out wide to open his teams’ account.

Cameron Smith was on target from close to touch and Melbourne led 6-0 after 10 minutes.

The Storm added to their lead around nine minutes later, this time a Cooper Cronk cross-field kick was batted back by Harris, Marika Koroibete picked up the ball and passed to Cronk who dived over adjacent to the uprights.

Smith again added the extras and the home team had jumped out to a 12-0 lead.

A couple of Storm penalties, one for a David Fifita lifting tackle, the other when Andrew Fifita was ruled to have infringed in the play the ball and the Storm went on the attack and again they cracked the Sharks defense.

And once more it was Harris, crashing over in almost the same fashion and close to the same blade of grass to his first four pointer.

Smith converted the third Storm try and the score had blown out to 18-0.

The Storm had a try denied by the video ref in the first piece of good news for the Sharks on the night and with a better share of the possession the Cronulla team began to work their way back into the match.

A succession of penalties saw the Sharks camp on the Storm line and eventually their persistence was rewarded, some clever individual skill from Anthony Tupou seeing Jeff Robson open their account.

Gordon slotted the conversion and with three minutes of the half remaining, at 18-6 the Sharks were probably closer than their 40 minutes had warranted.

As Sharks coach Shane Flanagan lamented in the post match press conference, his team had only four sets of six as opposed to 21 for the Storm, and with their attacking weapons it proved too much to handle as the score would indicate.

As they were in the opening half again the Sharks were slow out of the blocks and they were punished by the Storm, a Koroibete try pushing the score out to 22-6 and when Smith was again perfect from the touch line the margin was 18 points.

Just a few minutes later the Storm added to the Sharks woes, this time it was Smith strolling through after Ryan Hinchliffe had picked up a loose ball and tipped on a pass to his skipper inside their attacking quarter.

Will Chambers showed some good footwork to cross out wide, followed by another sideline conversion from Smith to take the score out to 36-6, before the Sharks were able to get their second try, this time to Valentine Holmes after a Paul Gallen line break and Ben Barba cut out pass.

Gordon kicked the goal from touch in putting a little respectability into the score at 36-12 storm with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Andrew Fifita charged onto a pass to score under the uprights to make it 36-18 but with only nine minutes of the match to go it was unfortunately too little too late for the Sharks.

Now without a win in their three matches to date the Sharks will head home desperate for a victory when they host the Gold Coast Titans next Saturday night at Remondis Stadium.

Kick off time for that match is 5.30pm.


Jeff Robson, Valentine Holmes, Andrew Fifita tries, Michael Gordon 3 goals

Lost to

Tohu Harris 2, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith, Marika Koroibete, Will Chambers tries, Cameron Smith 6 goals

Crowd – 13,015

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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