The Melbourne Storm have beaten the Cronulla Sharks 18-12 at Olympic Park this evening. Both sides scored three tries a-piece but the goalkicking or lack there-of from Brett Kimmorley proving the difference.
Kimmorley kicked 0/3 and it cost the Sharks dearly as they now languish in last spot with Manly as one of only two sides to not register a win in 2003. Manly at least have a chance at redemption against St George Illawarra tomorrow but the Sharks must come up with some answers and fast if they are make the semi finals this year.
In a game that never reached any great heights due to terrible ball control from both sides, Melbourne showed true fighting spirit to overcome a 8-6 halftime deficit to record their third victory of the season.
Melbourne did it tough losing both Aaron Moule (back) and Matt Orford (knee) to injury during the game thereby leaving the Storm with only two interchange players for the bulk of the second half. The experienced Melbourne pack picked up the slack with Stephen Kearney, Robbie Kearns and Peter Robinson having fine games. Cameron Smith was also strong out of dummy-half
Boom rookie Billy Slater scored another two tries this evening and must be a short priced favourite for the rookie of the year award as he shows amazing maturity for a player who has only played four first grade games. His speed is blinding and his ability to create something out of nothing will have Slater's name mentioned in representative circles before too long.
Matt Geyer and Robbie Ross were also excellent for the Storm while Phil Bailey was the standout player for the Sharks.
Things don?t get any easier for the Sharks as they face Newcastle next weekend while the Storm have the opportunity to consolidate a place in the top four as they face off against Manly.
Leagueunlimited player of the year:
Billy Slater ? 3 points Stephen Kearney ? 2 points Phil Bailey ? 1 point
Scorers: Storm Tries: Slater x 2, Bai Goals: Orford 2/2, Smith 1/1 Sharks Tries: Franze, Bailey, Nutley Goals: Kimmorley 0/3
By the clock: 4th min: TRY - Sharks. A great cutout pass from Kimmorley sees Franze cross in the corner. Shades of round one. Conversion unsuccessful. Sharks 4-0.
9th min: TRY - Storm. Billy Slater continues his impressive rookie year with a blistering round from broken play to open the Storm's account. Conversion successful. Storm 6-4.
14th min: TRY - Sharks. A carbon copy of hte first try, this time with Phil Baliey the recipient of the four pointer. Conversion unsuccessful. Sharks 8-6.
51st min: TRY - Sharks. After a Brett Kimmorley 40/20, the Sharks get the ball back and Danny Nutley busts through the defence and streatches out to place the ball over the line. Just. Conversion unsuccessful. Sharks 12-6.
59th min: TRY - Storm. Billy Slater swoops on a wayward Cronulla pass and with his blistering pace, no Shark was ever going to lay a finger on him as he raced 80 metres to score under the posts to level the scores. Coversion successful. 12 all.
72nd min: TRY - Storm. Marcus Bai scores out wide in what could be the match winner for the Storm and it leaves the Sharks languishing at the btoom of the table with 0 wins in four matches. Conversion successful. Storm 18-12.
80th min: FULL TIME. Storm win 18-12 in a gutsy but scrappy affair and remain firmly entrenched in the top four while the Sharks sit at the bottom of the table without a win in 2003.