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2021 NRL Round 25, Sharks 16 Storm 28 – Report

Christopher Rooney reviews the Cronulla-Sutherland vs Melbourne Storm clash, with the Storm looking to secure the minor premiership. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Sharks 16

Tries: Sione Katoa (10, 39), Connor Tracey (75)

Goals: Braydon Trindall (23 pen, 40)

Storm 28

Tries: Brandon Smith (5), Ryan Papenhuyzen (35, 47, 68), Marion Seve (41)

Goals: Nicho Hynes (6, 36, 46 – pen, 49)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Ryan Papenhuyzen (Melbourne Storm)
2 pts – Harry Grant (Melbourne Storm)
1 pt – Jahrome Hughes (Melbourne Storm)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

It was a great Friday night for the end of the regular season and it started with two sides who genuinely hate each other: the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and the Melbourne Storm.

For the Storm, a win would give them another minor premiership to add to the collection. For the Sharks, a win would guarantee that they would finish in eighth position and play in the finals for the seventh consecutive year.

Both sides played set-for-set football for the first five minutes of the half, not chancing their hands. An error from Mawene Hiroti on his own line was enough for Brandon Smith to score the first try of the night.

It didn’t take a long for the Sharks to score after a set restart from the Storm on their own line. Sione Katoa scored another great try in the corner, something he is accustomed to this season.

There was a ‘no try’ to the Storm and the Sharks were putting a lot of pressure on them. They earned a couple of line drop-outs but they were unable to score after some great defence from the Storm. Both sides were able to gain a lot of easy metres with ball in hand but a penalty from the Storm gave the Sharks the opportunity to level the scores.

Both sides were stuck in a tight affair for the majority of the first half. A few errors and poor fifth tackle options from both sides showed it was still anyone’s game. Nearly the end of the half, the Storm were able to score with Ryan Papenhuyzen scoring a great try to give the Storm a six point lead.

But it didn’t last long. Katoa scored a double in the corner again, with only a few seconds left in the first half. The Sharks were able to level the scores to end the first half, showing that it was anyone’s game.

HALF-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 12 Melbourne Storm 12

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2nd Half

It was a great start for the Storm with Marion Seve scoring only two minutes into the second half. The Sharks gave away two straight penalties which gave the Storm the opportunity to kick for two. Some great footwork from Harry Grant opened up the Sharks which lead to Papenhuyzen scoring a double and looking more comfortable back at fullback.

The momentum had swung massively in the second half. The Storm had all the possession and were putting the Sharks under a lot of pressure throughout the half. The Sharks had their opportunities but the Storm’s defence was outstanding.

Did I write a double for Papenhuyzen? Well it was a hat-trick for the brilliant fullback after a great kick from Jahrome Hughes right in the Sharks’ line. With less then 10 minutes to go, and the way both sides were playing in the second half, the minor premiership was once again the Storm’s.

Connor Tracey was able to score a try for the Sharks to help their for-and-against to try and remain in the top eight. Sharks supporters will be cheering on the Warriors on Sunday against the Titans to ensure they remain in eighth position.

The Storm – at the moment – look to be facing the Roosters in the first week. However with tomorrow night’s match between the Cowboys and Sea Eagles to come, there is no doubt it will be the Sea Eagles that the Storm face in the first week of the finals.

FULL-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 16 Melbourne Storm 28

Injuries

to be advised

Match Review Committee

to be advised

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