Shannon Meyer reviews a very good win for the Sharks over an ordinary Melbourne Storm.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 28
Tries: Jesse Ramien 3 (11, 37, 74), Blayke Brailey (14), Ronaldo Mulitalo (33), Sione Katoa (67)
Goals: Braydon Trindall 2 (16, 35)
Melbourne Storm 6
Tries: Alec MacDonald (77)
Goals: Nick Meaney (78)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The Cronulla Sharks scored a great win over the Melbourne Storm on Thursday night after arguably their best – and one of the Storm’s worst – efforts of the season.
Both sides were missing stars from the clash with players involved in State of Origin, and Sharks star halfback Nicho Hynes was unavailable due to COVID-19, as was forward Toby Rudolf.
Cronulla opened the scoring in the 11th minute, and were the better side for the opening exchanges. Jesse Ramien slid into score after Matt Moylan and Braydon Trindall created an overlap accentuated by Dean Ieremia rushing off his line. Melbourne looked a little flat it had to be said.
The Sharks increased their lead with the very next set. After Cronulla made an easy 80 metres from their return set, Matt Moylan stepped and avoided a charging Ryan Papenhuyzen and found Blayke Brailey on the inside for an easy try. The simple conversion was slotted and the Storm were 10-0 behind before the 20th minute.
Melbourne had a glut of possession after the Sharks’ second try with four penalties/set restarts plus a repeat set all in a row, but the Sharks’ defense was intense and successful at keeping the Storm at bay. Melbourne continued to look a little of ideas, and few would swap places with them for a half-time spray from Craig Bellamy.
Cronulla’s halves were on fire and they contributed for the Sharks’ third try of the match six minutes before the break. Trindall provided the assist for Briton Nikora who make a break down the right, then Matt Moylan had great vision to provide the perfect grubber kick to the corner early in the tackle count for Ronaldo Mulitalo to score. The Sharks were up 16-0 after the conversion and deserved every point.
It got worse for the Storm as they found themselves even further behind through Jess Ramien’s second try of the night. The initial break was made by Connor Tracey on the left and the Sharks spread it quickly to the right and eventually Sione Katoa provided a grubber back on the inside to a chasing Ramien. The Sharks went into the break at a scarcely believable 20-0.
A relatively quiet second half (littered with errors and penalties) was livened up in the 60th minute as Storm hooker Brandon Smith was sin binned – while the Storm were in attack – for dissent towards the referee after he was tackled the play before. Also in the bad books was Braden Hamlin-Uele – placed on report twice in five minutes either side of Smith’s sin binning for high contact. He was lucky it wasn’t 2021.
The Sharks took advantage of the extra player in the 67th minute when Sione Katoa scored untouched in the corner after a big overlap to the right courtesy of quick hands from the Cronulla backline. It was 24-0 and there was no coming back for the Storm from here.
Melbourne looked like they had got on the scoreboard through Papenhuyzen with five minutes remaining but The Bunker overruling that summed up their night.
Not long after Cronulla added a final try for the night: Jesse Ramien scored his first ever NRL hat-trick after another raid down the right following another easy metre-eating attacking set.
A dictionary definition consolation try for Melbourne with three minutes to go went to Alex McDonald who crashed over from five metres near the posts and saved Melbourne from their first zero-point return in two seasons. They were helped by Andrew Fifita being sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle just before.
As ordinary as the Storm were on Thursday night, Cronulla were great and thoroughly deserved the big win, and without arguably their best player of 2022 in Hynes. They are now equal on competition points with Melbourne after 17 rounds.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Braydon Trindall (Sharks), 2 pts – Matt Moylan (Sharks), 1 pt – Ronaldo Mulitalo (Sharks)
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