Cronulla’s Premiership wait ends
The Harold Holt statements can finish. Cronulla have finally won their first ever premiership in the club’s 49-year history with a 14-12 win over the Storm. A successful penalty from James Maloney in the opening stages of the match proved to be the difference between the teams as the Sharks held their nerve to clinch a well-deserved win.
The Sharks piled on the pressure early, and followed Maloney’s penalty with a try thanks to the rejuvenated Ben Barba. Paul Gallen proved that scrums aren’t dead in rugby league with a short pass to Barba inside the scrum to give Cronulla an 8-0 lead.
Melbourne hold on and hit the lead
Melbourne displayed their trademark defence to stay within eight points at halftime. At that stage of the match, the Sharks had 60% of passion, made 90 less tackles and forced three line dropouts. After the break, Melbourne hit the lead with quick tries to Jesse Bromwich and Will Chambers.
However, Andrew Fifita reached out to plant the ball over line while in a four-man tackle. The prop has faced plenty of criticism as of late but he finished the season in the best possible way. With Prior and Bukuya leaving the field during the match for head injury assessments, Fifita flourished. The giant forward’s work load increased as he took 23 hitups and ran over 200m. The Storm threatened to score late in the match but Cronulla held on to claim the 2016 NRL Premiership.
IN THE SHEDS
Marika Koroibete – on report
Will Chambers – on report
Jack Bird– right elbow
Sosaia Feki – left knee
Melbourne Storm 12
Tries: J. Bromwich, Chambers
Conversions: Smith 2/2
Cronulla Sharks 14
Tries: Barba, Fifita
Conversions: Maloney 1/2
Penalties: Maloney 1/1