The Melbourne Storm have scored a 30 points to 2 victory over the Sharks at Remondis Stadium.
In what proved a tough night at the office for the Cronulla side, Melbourne asserted their premiership credentials in showing that they remain well in the mix with the 2015 finals series just around the corner.
The Sharks got off to a near-perfect start as the side earned a penalty and Michael Ennis kicked the side in to a good position.
Packing plenty of punch in attack and looking likely to open the night’s scoring with a try, the hosts forced the Storm to infringe and upon second sight Gallen opted to take the two points.
Not to be deterred by the early conceit of points – albeit only from Michael Gordon’s boot – Melbourne worked the ball down into the Sharks’ red zone and found points with apparent ease as Jesse Bromwich strolled into score.
Cameron Smith made no mistake from adjacent to the posts, in taking his side to a 6-2 lead after 12 minutes.
As both sides went about completing their respective sets of possession, Cronulla again went close as Gerard Beale trailed an Ennis grubber to fall just inches short of restoring parity.
But a consistent flow of penalties for the Storm swung the first-half momentum in their favour, and they again crossed for a try when winger Matt Duffie finished off a well-worked backline move.
Smith again added the extras, this time from the eastern touchline, and the Storm shot out to a 12-2 lead after 18 minutes.
Despite their best efforts, the Sharks returned to the sheds 10 points in arrears, with the Melbourne side well and truly on top – much to the displeasure of the 10,269-strong home crowd.
The second-half started as the first finished, as Melbourne again asserted their credentials and maintained their grasp on the game.
Again the visitors enjoyed the bulk of possession, as Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith ensured the Storm remained in complete control of the match.
Valentine Holmes went about sparking a mini-resurgence from the Sharks, but despite earning three repeat sets, were unable to trouble the Storm’s goal-line defence.
Shane Flanagan introduced Ben Barba into the contest with a quarter of an hour remaining, but his presence only seemed to spark the visitors to life as Duffie nabbed his second four-pointer just minutes later.
Smith maintained his perfect night with the boot in kicking the Storm to an 18-2 lead, before Dale Finucane and Cameron Munster ran in late tries to round out a 30-2 score line.
The Sharks will now turn their attentions to this Saturday’s upcoming clash with the Wests Tigers at Remondis Stadium.
CRONULLA SHARKS - 2 (TRIES: Nil | GOALS: Gordon (1/1))
Def. by MELBOURNE STORM - 30 (TRIES: Bromwich, Duffie (2), Finucane, Munster | GOALS: Smith (5/5))