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Digital Image by Chris Lane copyright Michael Ennis: 1st Grade Round 23 - Cronulla Sharks vs Melbourne Storm at Remondis Statdium Monday August 17th 2015

An off night against Manly aside, Cronulla has shown they are a team to be reckoned with in 2016.

Semi-finalists last season, Shane Flanagan’s side has strengthened its outside back stocks significantly to compliment what has been a formidable forward pack for several years.

A narrow loss to the reigning premiers and demolition of the Dragons means the Sharks will throw up plenty of questions for Storm to answer on Monday night.

Be at AAMI Park when Storm host the Knights on Saturday 2 April from 3pm.

Halves make them whole
The return of Chad Townsend and addition of James Maloney has suddenly given the Sharks a halves pairing it can build around. The recruits have allowed Ben Barba to step into his preferred role at fullback, which he appears to be relishing in the early rounds. Suddenly Cronulla have two playmakers to certainly keep the opposition on their toes.

Team effort to contain Fifita
Andrew Fifita looks back to his best, currently ranked 5th in the NRL for total metres after the opening three rounds. He has been the pillar along with Gallen in the Sharks forward pack for several years now and when he is running at full steam his side is a tough one to beat. Storm’s forward pack has been formidable in their own right this season but will need to band together to stop the Cronulla big man if they want to head home with the two points.

Not so rosey on the road
Looking on the surface Melbourne enjoys playing against Cronulla, having beaten them in nine of the last 10 games. However when you look at how Storm has faired on the road against the boys from the Shire things suddenly appear a little less pleasant. At Shark Park Storm have won seven and lost five. The men in purple head back there in good form but history shows it will be a difficult test on Cronulla’s own turf.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.