Four Pointer: Cronulla Sharks 13 Melbourne Storm 18
It was a messy game that resulted in Melbourne finally getting their revenge after the Sharks beat them by two in the 2016 Grand Final last October, and then again in Round 06 at AAMI Park. Neither the Sharks nor the Storm played their best, however one team had to win, and that was the Storm in front of a lacking home crowd at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Thursday evening.
Error After Error
It was something every Sharks fan sees all the time, however it was uncharacteristic of Melbourne to make twelve errors. In eighty minutes, the error count made it to twenty-two for both sides, lowering the completion rates by a significant amount. The errors from Melbourne began to bring them down after they got to a twelve point lead after just ten minutes of play; after that the Sharks had all the momentum (this however didn’t stop them from making errors). The Sharks had eight incomplete sets, while the Storm had eleven, which was undoubtedly surprising, considering what the NRL fans know they are capable of. However, this strangely high number of errors from the side did not stop them from grasping a last minute victory after Kaufusi strolled over the Cronulla Sharks’ line. There is no doubt this will be addressed (particularly by Bellamy) prior to their next matches.
Smith Brilliance Boosts Storm
We all know that Storm hooker Cameron Smith is an invaluable player who has skills that are unquestionably the best of anyone in the current competition, and Thursday night he once again proved that, being the best on field. Despite his side being rather ill disciplined when it came to making errors and conceding penalties, Smith was able to keep his side calm, and knew what to do and when, which contributed successfully to the victory Melbourne was able to walk away with following the game. He alone had two try assists, one tackle break, and two line break assists. He had a brilliant tackle success rate, and kicked a golden 40/20 that gave his side a brilliant opportunity, not to mention kicking all three conversions to add to Melbourne’s point tally. While he did concede two penalties, that didn’t phase him nor anyone, and he continued to play brilliantly – as is excepted from him, given the player that he is. He was brilliant on field, and is of paramount importance to the side, which was once again proved on Thursday night in the grand final rematch (rematch).
Battle of the Fullbacks
Valentine Holmes and Billy Slater were both looked over for a spot in the Queensland Origin side for the first match of the series, and have proved themselves worthy for the second match, especially Slater who should never have been left out in the first place. They once again showed themselves off on Thursday night when battling on Sharks’ turf. Sharks fullback Valentine Holmes had a great game, running the most metres of any player on the field at 192 metres. He made three offloads and four tackle breaks, which allowed him to make plenty of runs to get the Sharks into good field position (…which they didn’t do much with). Holmes was one of the best on field for the Cronulla side. Slater was also one of the best on field, making two offloads, one line break assist and seven tackle breaks. He had a rocky start to the match however was able to pick himself up and set up the try that gave Melbourne the victory. He was unsurprisingly a strong player that contributed plenty to his team’s win.
Another Low Scoring Affair
It’s becoming a trend to see these two teams play and see the final result quite close, and without many points in the match. Their last two encounters, excluding Thursday night have seen no more than thirty points being scored in total. The 2016 Grand Final, the Cronulla Sharks ran away with their first club premiership in a low scoring match, with the final score being fourteen points to twelve. While this can be common in Grand Finals, the first rematch earlier in the season was held at AAMI Park, where the Sharks were once again victorious, winning eleven points to two in a rainy encounter on Sunday afternoon in Round 06. Thursday night was once again one of those low scoring matches, only this time it was Melbourne who walked away with the two competition points. Whether this will happen in their next encounter, we’ll have to wait and see…
Tries: Luke Lewis, Sosaia Feki
Goals: James Maloney 2
Field Goal: James Maloney
Tries: Tim Glasby, Felise Kaufusi 2
Goals: Cameron Smith