Melbourne storm to another Minor Premiership
The Storm grabbed themselves the JJ Giltinan shield in style, putting in one of their best performances of the 2016 season as they smashed the previously second ranked Sharks in front of their home fans. They controlled the game well, despite only having 47% of possession, based largely on an incredible 92% completion rate, as opposed to their opposition’s 70%. After slipping to Brisbane a week earlier, the Storm are firing again and look ready to tackle the Cowboys in week one of the Finals.
Sharks loss continues fall
The Sharks have been flying high in 2016, but the last month and a half has produced just one win and a draw amongst four losses, consigning them to third on the ladder, meaning they have lost the right at a Sydney home Final. It is a big blow for Cronulla, and can’t be great for the confidence as they enter the Finals. Coach Shane Flanagan will be looking to have his side playing as if the season has just started now, and forgetting their recent history.
Suliasi Vunavali re-writes Melbourne records
Vunavali entered the Melbourne side’s record books last night, as he became their highest try scorer in a single season, as he crossed the stripe for the 22nd time, a stat made even more impressive considering he has only played in 18 matches. His athleticism in the air makes him a constant option in attack for the Storm, and the side has reaped the benefits.
Injuries bite Sharks
The Cronulla club was up against it travelling to Melbourne, but the job was made worse when injuries hit. The club lost Sosaia Feki for much of the first half after he landed awkwardly when making a try saving tackle. The also lost Joseph Paulo to a knee injury, and Chris Heighington to concussion mid-way through the first half, with neither taking any further part in the game. The injuries took their toll as the Storm overran them in the second half.
From the Sheds
Sharks interchange forward Joseph Paulo has a suspected Meniscus injury, while Chris Heighington failed a concussion test.
Melbourne Storm 26 (Blair 2, Vunivalu, Bromwich tries; Smith 5 goals) defeated Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 6 (Beale try; Maloney 1 goal) at AAMI Park. Crowd: 24,135.