Match Report

It was tough, stop start and hardly a game for fans looking for end to end action or sparkling attacking play, but however the contest played out it was another gritty win for the Sharks against the defending premiers and one of the competition favorites.

While the referees blew 33 penalties on the night, for the Sharks and their coach Shane Flanagan, it was more about the teams defensive effort as they continually turned away the Storm in keeping Melbourne try-less in the 14-4 win. 

With tempers flaring towards the end of the contest, the way the game concluded sets up another fiery encounter when the two teams meet again in round 22. 

The Sharks were first on the board courtesy of a Chad Townsend penalty goal in the fourth minute of the match but the home team was under pressure soon after when Luke Lewis was sent to the sin bin in what what was deemed to be a professional foul. 

Turning back a couple of Storm attacking raids and still a man down, the Sharks would work their way into an attacking zone and add to their lead, with a try coming through some clever play from Jesse Ramien, the young centre getting on the outside of his opposite before flicking a one-handed pass for Edrick Lee to score. 

Townsend was on target with his conversion attempt and the Sharks led 8-0, 24 minutes into the contest. 

In a rough and tumble affair with defence dominating, neither side could cross the line however after being awarded their ninth penalty of the first period the Storm would post first points, back rower Joe Stimson taking over the kicking duties from skipper Cameron Smith, putting Melbourne on the board with a kick from close to the posts. 

Turing around in the second half and now running into a stiff headwind the Sharks were forced to battle for field position but after a ruck penalty, then another Storm indiscretion three plays later, Townsend would kick his 15th consecutive goal of the season and the Cronulla side were up 10-2. 

With the match firing up and tensions bubbling over, this time it was the Storm who would be a man short, captain Cameron Smith sent for 10 minutes for back chatting after being penalised for an off-side infringement. 

While a man down it was Melbourne who would go on the attack and after back to back penalties, with the referees' whistle seemingly dominating the game, the Storm edged closer at 10-4 down with 18 minutes left on the clock. 

Soon after it was again a penalty and again it was in the Sharks favour and when Townsend slotted the ball through the posts with another successful kick at goal, Cronulla was up eight with the match now entering its final 15 minutes.

Yet another penalty goal to Townsend late in the contest, his fourth of the night, completed the scoring. 

Townsend has now kicked 17 consecutive goals through the first four rounds of the season. 

The win takes the Sharks to four competition points from their four matches and sets up another big game for the Cronulla side against the Roosters next Friday night. 

SHARKS 14
Edrick Lee try, Chad Townsend 5 goals 
beat
STORM 4
Joe Stimson 2 goals 

Crowd - 13,196