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3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Cronulla have posted a ten-point win in a game that featured just a solitary try, finishing 14-4 victors over a lacklustre Storm side in what can only be described as a penalty-fest.
Another ill-disciplined match marred by a huge penalty count - fifteen penalties, no less, were blown in the first half, 10 of which went the way of the visitors, however they failed to score a single try despite having the glut of possession and field position. There were even more blown in the second half.
The Sharks got a penalty on the very first hit up when Vunivalu illegally raked the ball of Fifita. After three minutes and strong defensive pressure, the Sharks got a penalty and opted to take the gift 2 from in front. Sharks up 2-0.
Ten minutes later and Luke Lewis was given ten minutes in the bin after what appeared to be a dubious charge of ankle tapping Billy Slater after he took a quick tap.
Despite the Storm having an extra man advantage and a swathe of opportunities attacking the Sharks line, they continually failed to trouble the scoreboard attendant.
In fact, quite the opposite happened. Paul Gallen took a quick scoot from dummy half, deep inside the Storm half, before getting a good offload to Townsend. The Sharks half threw a great cut out pass to Ramien. The young centre got outside his man and drew the winger before passing to Lee who scored untouched. Townsend converted.
The Storm kicking game was disappointing, as was their last tackle options. It wasn't until Brailey was penalised for not clearing the ruck quickly enough that Smith finally relented and chose to take the two. Joe Stimson slotted the goal to reduce the deficit to 6 at the break.
Sharks scored three straight penalties inside the first 5 minutes of the second half, resulting in Townsend adding another 2 points to take the lead back out to 8.
If the first half was poor, the second half saw the Storm playing the most ill-displined footy of their history.
Sharks scored three straight penalties in succession which lead to Townsend kick a penalty goal.
Five minutes later came a sensation when Cameron Smith was penalised for being offside, and then again quickly for back chat and then sent to the sin bin.
Just as Smith was returning to the field, the Storm got a penalty and Stimson knocked over the easy two to get the Storm back within a converted try.
Sharks though get a penalty in the Storm half two minutes later and Townsend kicked another penalty goal to take the lead back out to 8 points.
The final ten minutes saw the Storm give away a myriad of penalties, with the last few looking fairly blatant, including one against Will Chambers that was put on report. Townsend kicked another penalty goal and the match ended when the frustrated Storm got into a big scuffle which lasted long enough to wind the clock down.
Over 30 penalties were called for the match and two players binned in what was a forgettable game of Rugby League that neither side would be pleased with.
Next week the Storm are across the ditch to face the Wests Tigers in the first game of an Auckland double header on Saturday, while the Sharks are back at home hosting the Roosters on Friday evening.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 14 - Melbourne Storm 4
Venue: PointsBet Stadium
Halftime Score: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 8 Melbourne Storm 2
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Chad Townsend
2 points - Jesse Ramien
1 points - Andrew Fifita
CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS (14)
Tries: Edrick Lee
Conversions: Chad Townsend (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Chad Townsend (4/4)
MELBOURNE STORM (4)
Penalty Goals: Joe Stimson (2/2)