Melbourne Storm have secured an important 30-2 victory away to Cronulla on Monday night.
In front of 10,269 fans at Remondis Stadium, Melbourne overcame the fifth placed Sharks thanks to a steadfast defensive display.
In a tight contest, Storm’s work ethic and diligence without the ball proved the difference as a Matt Duffie double helped the visitors to a 28-point win.
Cronulla took an early lead, kicking for two points after back to back penalties in their attacking half.
Melbourne wasted no time in hitting back, making the most of some attacking field position off a penalty of their own. Halfback Cooper Cronk’s short ball for Jesse Bromwich sent the front-rower through a hole in the Cronulla defence.
Shortly after, the visitors made another incursion into attack and came up trumps. Shifting the ball from left to right, Matt Duffie found space on the wing to give his side a 12-2 lead.
Despite several raids from the Sharks, Storm held onto their 10-point advantage heading to the sheds at half-time, proving stingy in defence and locking down on any open space created by the Cronulla attack.
Controlling the majority of possession, the Sharks pushed hard to draw to within striking distance of Melbourne in the second half.
A superb Storm defensive performance however repelled Cronulla, absorbing attack after attack before counterpunching.
Entering attack after a sustained period in their own half, Will Chambers’ clever grubber kick found Duffie to give Storm reward for their defensive efforts throughout the half, further extending the lead.
Melbourne Storm 30
Tries: Matt Duffie 2, Jesse Bromwich 1, Dale Finucane 1, Cameron Munster
Goals: Cameron Smith 5
Cronulla Sharks 2
Goals: Michael Gordon 1