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Five Key Points - Sharks v Storm

1 Defence wins big matches
Its an oldie but a goodie, but there is plenty of truth in the saying that defence wins big matches as was shown by the Sharks gritty win over the Storm.

After the Sharks had built up a handy nine-point lead at the half time break, momentum shifted in favour of the Storm in the second half and it was a determined Cronulla outfit who managed to keep turning their opponents away.

A try saver on Curtis Scott in the south-western corner was a huge play, as was the effort from Jesse Ramien and Valentine Holmes to hold Joe Stimson up in the in-goal when it appeared the Storm backrower was destined to score.

In a 10-minute period in that second 40 minutes the Sharks turned away wave after wave of Storm attack, in what was a performance they will bd looking to build the remainder of their season on.

The game against the Storm on Sunday was a big match with the Sharks pushing for a top four berth and in the end it was a resolute defensive effort that saw them come out on top.

2 Life in the old boy
He might still be undecided as to whether he will play on beyond the current season but again Paul Gallen showed there is plenty of life left with another outstanding performance from the Sharks skipper.

Gallen played the first 55-odd minutes of the match, had a quick rest, before being thrown back into the action before expected due to Matt Prior coming off for a head injury assessment.

In his time on the field Gallen ran for 198 metres, the most of any forward in the match, while topping the Sharks tackle count with 38.

Against a big and physical Melbourne pack, it again showed there is some petrol left in the tank and that Gallen will play a crucial role for his team in the weeks ahead.

3 One try to go
A Valentine Holmes try, his 19th of the season was a spectacular one, with the fullback backing up on the inside accepting a Sosaia Feki pass during the first half of the Sharks win over the Storm.

Holmes's 19th four-pointer of the year not only kept him on top of the NRL try-scorers list in 2018, but it also equals the record he jointly holds with club legend David Peachey for most tries in a season for the Cronulla club.

If you were to throw in the 12 tries Holmes scored in the World Cup while playing for Australia and the eight he has crossed for in the Origin arena for Queensland in just five games and it certainly shows the Sharks fullback is currently unrivalled when it comes to finding the try line.

Holmes now has three matches and just one try to go to break a club record which has stood since 1999 and in his present mood it would take a brave man to bet against him.

4 His luck is due to change

Whenever Wade Graham is on the field, the Sharks look threatening.

The talented back rower was again in the thick of the action in the first half as the Sharks built up a handy nine-point buffer.

But as has been the case throughout 2018, injury disrupted his afternoon, with Graham taken from the field with a knee injury just 90-seconds before the half time break.

Appearing to be more of a collision injury than a ligament issue, Graham and club medical staff were optimistic he would return, however it wasn't to be, with Scott Sorensen coming on and capably filling the role on the Sharks left hand side.

Initial indications are that the problem may not be too serious and with Graham due for a change of luck, hopefully the next few days will show the injury to not be too serious and the Sharks co-captain will be back in action from as early as next week.

5 Top four finish becomes a realistic possibility
The win in Melbourne against the odds, has put the Sharks well and truly back in the frame in the fight for a top four finish.

The victory took the Sharks to 28 points, securing a place in the top eight, while putting them just two points behind the third-placed Storm and the Panthers in fourth.

With three game to go, two at home, in the fun home the Sharks are in position if good enough, although currently sixth and still on the outside looking in, they will need a result or two to go their way in the few weeks.

The top four, and with it a double-shot in the finals, has now become a realistic possibility for the Sharks as the 2018 season moves to the pointy end.

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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