Sharks hand Storm first loss of the year

Jeremy Smith

It was a typical NRL game, in the sense that it was a grinding, fast-paced game right until the end – with the Cronulla Sharks handing the Melbourne Storm their first loss of the season, winning 12-10 at Toyota Stadium.

The win sees the Sharks in third place, and equal on points with second place Brisbane, following the nail-biting win, over the competition frontrunners.

With Paul Gallen out of the game due to injury – it was a cliffhanger that could have gone either way – before Sharks back-rower Jeremy Smith crashed over from dummy half, in what was the turning point.

The determination for that try … that was the match changer,” Flanagan said.

“Finally I think a lot of people will stand up and take a little bit of notice that we can play football and we are a good team … to do it without Gal … the defensive effort was outstanding,” Flanagan said.

Coach Shane Flanagan said that the Sharks had a clear plan to stop the Storm’s big 3, and they executed it well.

“We just tried to play Melbourne at what they’re good at … they are patient, well-drilled and they’ve got structures in place in offence and defence and we tried to do that as best we could, matching them in those areas,” Flanagan said.

“And I think we did that especially defensively … we weren’t that good in attack to be fair.”

For Storm coach Craig Bellamy, he calls it like he sees it, and thus copped the loss on the chin – but he was a bit baffled at the decision to send fullback Billy Slater to the bin.

“I thought it was a really tough call actually but at the end of the day it didn’t really do any damage. They didn’t score any points during that 10-minute period,” he said.

“We were sideways all day. I’m not sure why we were like that … whether a little bit of their defence caused that I’m not quiet sure.”

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