The Cronulla Sharks have claimed the first ever win for the Club at AAMI Park, defeating the Melbourne Storm 11-2 on Sunday.
Played in torrential rain, the match was a bizarre contest, fought out with big defensive plays and a lack of scoring opportunities.
Despite the not scoring any points, the Sharks were in control of the match during the first half, pressuring the Storm line continually.
The homeside held resolute though, not leaking any points and turning the Sharks side away at every chance.
With his side on the back foot, Cooper Cronk cam up with a crucial play, kicking a 40-20 and put his side in good field possession.
From here, the Storm would pressure the Sharks line and force the Sharks into producing a penalty.
Producing a trademark Melbourne play, Cronk floated the ball to a sweeping Billy Slater who was caught in a high shot from James Maloney. Cameron Smith would slot the penalty and the score would be 2-0 to the home side after 17 minutes.
The Sharks would continue to hold most of the field possession but just couldn’t execute that final play and get on the scoreboard.
For the remainder of the first half both sides would struggle to hold onto possession, dropping enough ball to give both coaches a few extra grey hairs.
The score remained 2-0 at the break.
The rain really began to come down in the second half and both teams would again struggle to hold onto the ball.
Buoyed by a vocal home crowd, the Melbourne Storm would march onto the Sharks line and mount pressure on the visitors.
The first of two video referee decisions for potential Storm tries came in the form of a potential Suliasi Vunivalu try when they went high to the right wing.
The flying winger went high above his opposite number in Sosaia Feki however was ruled to have lost the ball when he hit the ground.
The Storm would again go upstairs, when another potential Vunivalu try was to be looked at.
This time in midfield, the Storm winger flew high above a group of Sharks players however was not able to hold onto the ball in the driving rain, putting the catch down and handing possession back to the Sharks.
From here, the Sharks began to crawl back into the match producing defence that is now a trademark of this great side.
Jack Bird produced one of the best defensive efforts of his young career, keeping the Storm’s left-edge at bay all day.
The Sharks’ opportunity would come in the form of a penalty after the Storm were said to have once again been too slow to get up off the tackle. James Maloney would point to the sticks and convert the penalty from in front.
The scores were all tied up and we had a game on our hands.
With both sides trading sets of six, the Sharks slowly grinded their way up field and with 10 minutes left in the game, James Maloney opted for a field goal and was successful.
The score was 3-2 to the Sharks and the result looked like resembling that of a soccer match.
Well aware of the Storm’s class, the Sharks knew that the final 10 minutes would need a continued defensive effort and potentially more points.
Working their way deep into Storm territory, crafty grubber out of dummy half from James Segeyaro saw the livewire rake chase his own kick through and ground the ball.
The try went to the video referee and Segeyaro would be awarded his first try in Sharks colours. Maloney made no mistake with the kick and we were ahead 9-2.
From here, the Sharks iced the clock, holding the Storm out and keeping them from scoring a try for the first time in the history of their Club.
The Sharks would be awarded a penalty right on full-time and Maloney would again make no mistake with the kick and the Sharks would be victorious 11 points to 2.
Cronulla Sharks 11 def. Melbourne Storm 2
Tries: Segeyaro, Goals: Maloney 3 (2 pen, 1 field goal, 1 conversion)