Melbourne Storm returned have returned to the winner’s list in Round 3, defeating Cronulla 36-18 at AAMI Park.
Playing in Melbourne for the first time in 2015, Storm’s potency down the left hand side of the field proved decisive as the contest went on. Second-rower Tohu Harris was influential, playing long minutes in his new starting role while captain Cameron Smith was lethal in front of the posts, booting six goals from six attempts.
After an open start to the contest with both sides showing some enterprising attacking play, Storm opened the scoring through Tohu Harris.
Capitalising on Wade Graham’s kicking error, Melbourne swept forward peeling towards the left edge to take the lead.
Melbourne’s left hand side attack continued to cause problems for the Sharks during the half. Halfback Cooper Cronk crossed for Storm’s second of the night after a kick to the left created a spillage with Harris then scoring again five minutes later.
Smith’s kicking pushed Storm out to an 18-0 lead before the hosts were forced to absorb some pressure in defence. Cronulla hit back late in the half to reduce Storm’s lead at the main break with Jeff Robson spinning through a to score in the 36th minute.
A blistering start to the second stanza saw Melbourne to continue to press and find success from their left hand side attack. Marika Koroibete found some space on the wing four minutes into the half to re-instate Melbourne’s 18 point advantage.
Owning the majority of possession during the second period of play, Melbourne continued to press forward as they controlled the territorial battle.
Further tries to captain Smith and Will Chambers consolidated Melbourne’s lead, leaving the Sharks with a mountain to climb.
A momentum swing late in the match allowed Shane Flanagan’s outfit to draw closer thanks to tries from Valentine Holmes and Andrew Fifita. However it was not enough for the visitors who fell 18-points short of Craig Bellamy’s side.
Melbourne Storm 36
Tries: Tohu Harris 9m, Cooper Cronk 19m, Tohu Harris 24m, Marika Koroibete 44m, Cameron Smith 52m, Will Chambers 60m
Goals: Cameron Smith 6
Cronulla Sharks 18
Tries: Jeff Robson 36m, Valentine Holmes 64m, Andrew Fifita 71m
Goals: Michael Gordon 3