Prime Minister Scott Morrison's crowd ban may have been a blessing in disguise for his fellow Sharks fans after the Sharks suffered a disappointing late 12-10 defeat to the Melbourne Storm, saving Sharks fans from an unhappy trip home.
The opening forty minutes won't go down in Rugby League history as one of the greatest halves of football, with neither side able to crack their opponents' line during the first stanza of action. The point scoring started early though, when a string of three successive penalties helped Melbourne get into penalty-goal territory, which Cameron Smith took advantage of to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
The run of penalties swapped around, and once Cronulla was able to get one within range, they took advantage of the opportunity to level the scores off the boot of Shaun Johnson. The Sharks were able to put themselves into the lead at about the 20-minute mark when head referee Ashley Klein ruled one against the Storm for being offside on their own line, Johnson stepping up once more.
The points scoring might have been restricted to just three penalty goals for the half, but it wasn't through the lack of opportunities. Melbourne was forced to weather a Sharknado of attacking raids, but a mix of good defence and some poor attacking choices from Johnson meant that the home side went tryless in the half.
The second half started in a similar fashion to how the first half played out, with neither side being able to get on the board in the early stages despite some good efforts, until Melbourne restored parity after 48 minutes with a Smith penalty goal.
The Sharks were able to get the first try of the match when Blayke Brailey put a good little grubber kick through and big man Billy Magoulias was there to chase through and get his first NRL try. The easy conversion for Johnson meant that the Sharks were out to a 10-4 lead.
Melbourne were able to keep themselves into the game and scrapped their way back into it when Tui Kamikamicka was able to power his way over the line and slam the ball down. The conversion from close range levelled the scores up and it was 'game on'.
After being almost perfect through the opening 65 minutes, the Sharks then began to implode with errors in bad positions, and discipline came back to cost them when an idiotic play to punch the ball out in a 3-on-1 tackle meant the Storm got a penalty right in front, giving them the advantage of playing the final five minutes from in front. The Storm were able to hold onto their 12-10 lead and take their second victory for the season.
Next weekend, the Sharks are back at Kogarah as they play host to the Newcastle Knights whilst the Melbourne Storm get to experience their first crowdless home game as they host the also undefeated Penrith Panthers on Saturday afternoon at AAMI Park.