The Melbourne Storm have fittingly reached the 40 as Cam Smith celebrated game 400 with the Storm taking a 40-16 victory over the Cronulla Sharks in front of 22,000 fans at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Despite coming out of the first half with a 14-point lead, the Storm were anything but dominant in the opening 40 minutes with the Storm scoring two tries to one but with an extra three penalty goals.
Melbourne opened the scoring in just the fourth minute when Cameron Munster chased through a Jahrome Hughes kick and after a review by the bunker, the try was awarded and the Storm lead 6-0 after Cam Smith converted. The Storm extended the lead out to 8-0 when Cam Smith added his first penalty goal of the match.
Cronulla had some early joy down the left-hand side and on their second raid they came up with points when Aaron Gray crossed in the corner after some good hands from Dugan and Xerri. The conversion from Johnson hit the upright and kept it at 8-4.
Cameron Smith's boot then added the points on the next two occasions with penalty goals coming for the Storm in the 20th & 25th minutes. The Sharks were struggling to retain possession and invited the Storm to attack and finally they cracked line with 5 minutes left of the first half when Brandon Smith burrowed his way down to score and after Cam Smith's conversion the Storm lead 18-4 at the break.
The Sharks were the side who started the second half best with two tries as well one that was disallowed for a forward pass. The first try for Cronulla came when they looked to go right when Kurt Capewell got the ball off a good pass from Shaun Johnson to score. The Sharks' second try brought them to within 2 points when Shaun Johnson ran through and scored and converted both tries. The visitors looked to have a third had Ben Cummins not called a Kurt Capewell offload forward, the forward pass call would hurt the Sharks because the Storm began to re-grip their dominance on the game.
The Storm got their first try of the second half on the hour mark when Brodie Croft took the ball at first receiver off the back of a scrum and ran a good line to score and push the margin back out to 8 points. The momentum swing was well and truly on as Justin Olam rubbed salt into the Sharks wounds as he went head first into Josh Morris to score the try and left Morris with a broken nose. Melbourne capped the game off with a second try to Brandon Smith in the 79th minute when he pushed his way over for his second and Cameron Smith sealed the conversion to take the Storm to the 40 in game 400.
Next weekend, the Storm travel to the Gold Coast to take on the last placed Titans whilst the Sharks are heading to the New Zealand capital Wellington to take on the New Zealand Warriors.