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2021 NRL Round Eight, Storm 40 Sharks 14 – Report

Jack Harbidge reviews the Round Eight clash between Melbourne Storm and Cronulla Sharks at Melbourne’s AAMI Park….. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Storm 40

Tries: Josh Addo-Carr (19), Tom Eisenhuth (45), Tui Kamikamica (52), Reimis Smith (55, 70, 76), Jahrome Hughes (62), Brandon Smith (66).

Goals: Cameron Munster (8 pen, 47, 53, 64)

Sharks 14

Tries: Briton Nikora (30), Connor Tracey (79)

Goals: Chad Townsend (14′ pen, 31, 80)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Reimis Smith (Melbourne Storm)
2 pts – Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne Storm)
1 pt – Nicho Hynes (Melbourne Storm)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

Cronulla started the game the better of both sides and along with the help of a couple of Melbourne errors, looked the closest to scoring in the opening stages of the half. The Sharks did, in fact, cross the line first with Connor Tracey going over in the left hand corner, only to be called back for a Chad Townsend forward pass.

Melbourne made the reprise pay almost immediately, driving down towards the Sharks line off the back of a line-break from Josh Addo-Carr and winning a penalty for Cameron Munster to convert and put the Storm two points ahead. Cronulla soon answered back after being awarded a penalty from a Munster strip and Chad Townsend duly obliged with the kick to level the scores.

Both sides continued to trade sets and with Cronulla pressing the Melbourne line, a crucial knock on gifted Addo-Carr the ball for him to race 80 metres and get over for the first try of the game. Cronulla weren’t without their chances following that, however, with Tracey getting over the line once more off the back of a kick only to be denied a put down by some great defence from Jahrome Hughes.

Errors stunted the game’s scoring with both sides putting the ball down in good attacking position, most notably Felise Kaufusi off the back of a clean line break from Nicho Hynes to the relief of the Cronulla faithful. Following that, the sides traded errors that tallied to greater than the 6-2 score line with 10 minutes of the half left to play. Melbourne’s sixth error proved a crucial one, with their seemingly non-existent defence allowing Briton Nikora to go over untouched under the posts.

Following the try, Cronulla marched up the field off the back of a number of six again calls from referee but couldn’t capitalise and following a few more sets traded, Cronulla went into half time with a two point lead.

HALF-TIME: Melbourne Storm 6 Cronulla Sharks 8

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2nd Half

The second half proved extremely different to the first, with Melbourne coming out under orders to retain the ball and complete their sets. The half time message was exceptionally effective with the Storm squeezing Cronulla out of the game as time went on.

It took just over five minutes of the second half before Melbourne opened the second half scoring with Tom Eisenhuth crossing off the back of a set restart. Cronulla did their best to retake the lead but ill-discipline let them down and allowed Melbourne to control the game with an improved completion rate.

The Storm continued to build pressure off the back of their second try and Tui Kamikamica barged over under the posts to extend the Melbourne lead to 10 points after a Munster conversion. From then on Melbourne continued to dominate with Reimis Smith backing up the try with one of his own just a couple of minutes later.

Jahrome Hughes added to the score sheet, followed by Brandon Smith, before Reimis Smith grabbed his second of the night in the 71st minute and then completed his hat trick just five minutes later. The bombardment from Melbourne was curtailed, however, by a late Tracey try which made the final score 40-14 after a Shaun Johnson conversion to finish off a half of football that Melbourne won 34-6.

FULL-TIME: Melbourne Storm 40 Cronulla Sharks 14

Injuries

to be advised

Match Review Committee

to be advised

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