A second-half masterclass has guided the Melbourne Storm to a 40-14 victory against the Cronulla Sharks at AAMI Park.

The Sharks squandered a two point half-time lead through a dismal defensive performance that saw the home side score six unanswered tries in thirty five minutes.

Both teams traded penalty goals to begin the match, with Cameron Munster and Chad Townsend scoring the only points of the opening twenty minutes.

The Sharks appeared to cross first through Connor Tracey but were denied due to a contentious forward pass.

Instead, Josh Addo-Carr defied the momentum of the match to scoop up a Cronulla error and run the length of the field to score the first try of the game.

The Sharks were quick to hit back through Briton Nikora, who latched onto a short ball from Shaun Johnson and split the Melbourne defence through the centre of the field.

As the sides hit the sheds, Cronulla led 8-6.

However, the Sharks’ lead did not last long as Melbourne ran riot in the second period.

Harry Grant set up two tries in quick succession with short balls at the line, sending Tom Eisenhuth and Tui Kamikamica over next to the goalposts.

Nicho Hynes then sent Reimis Smith away for his first try of the evening before Jahrome Hughes seamlessly stepped past three defenders on his way to the line.

By the time Brandon Smith crossed in the 68th minute, the result was all but sealed.

Three minutes later, Reimis Smith brushed past Teig Wilton to score his second before completing his hat trick by waltzing past Cronulla’s flimsy defence.

A last minute try to Connor Tracey provided little consolation to Sharks’ fans who had just witnessed the club lose its fourth consecutive match.

The win sees Melbourne draw parallel with Parramatta on twelve competition points, while the Sharks appear destined to finish the weekend in the bottom four.

NRL News Player of the Game:

3 Points – Harry Grant – 3 try assists, 32 tackles – Was outstanding in his return to the starting lineup and turned the game in Melbourne’s favour with two try assists after halftime.

2 Points – Jahrome Hughes – 1 try, 1 line-break, 1 intercept – Continued his rich vein of form by controlling the side superbly while looking extremely dangerous with possession.

1 Point – Reimis Smith – 3 tries, 3 line-breaks – Many were predicting Smith to score this evening when he was initially named on the wing, but instead moved back to centre and crossed for a treble.

Honorable Mention – Nicho Hynes.

Melbourne Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes

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