Brave Storm fall just short in Grand Final
Storm were brave but ultimately have came up short in the 2016 NRL Grand Final, going down to Cronulla 14-12.
The boys from Melbourne once again put in a defensive performance to remember, making 436 tackles as they defended off their own line for much of the game.
Cameron Smith was heroic for Melbourne with a staggering 74 tackles for the night.
However the Sharks controlled the football with 56% of possession and came up with the answers when it mattered to be deservingly be crowned the premiers.
To describe the start as electrifying would be an understatement as a sell-out crowd rode every single second of the opening moments.
On seven minutes the first points of the game would go to the Sharks when James Maloney made sure of a penalty goal in front of the posts.
All the early momentum was flowing the way of Cronulla, as would the game’s opening try when Paul Gallen sent Ben Barba throughout of a scrum.
Melbourne’s defence was certainly tested in the first half as they were forced to make 90 more tackles than their opponents.
The purple wall stood tall though, keeping the Sharks out despite surrendering 60% of possession.
As the men in purple headed for the sheds facing an 8-0 lead it remained to be seen how much energy they had spent at the defensive end.
Their defence was firing but Melbourne needed points and it would be Jesse Bromwich who would answer the call.
He accepted the pass from his skipper out of dummy half and there was simply no stopping the Kiwi big man who carried three defenders over the line with him to score.
After getting themselves back in the contest Storm were again forced to defend off their own line for several minutes and once again they answered every challenge that came their way.
The men in purple deserved the lead and with 16 minutes to play they took it.
After brilliant go-forward from Christian Welch and Ben Hampton, the ball ended up in the hands of Will Chambers.
The Storm centre skipped on his right, then left before turning on the speed to slice through the Sharks defence and send the purple faithful into a frenzy.
To their credit Cronulla responded in the 68th minute when Andrew Fifita crashed under the posts to take back a two-point lead.
Storm gave absolutely everything they had in the closing stages and had their opportunities but this was ultimately the Sharks night.
Melbourne Storm 12
Tries: Jesse Bromwich, Will Chambers
Goals: Cameron Smith 2
Cronulla Sharks 14
Tries: Ben Barba, Andrew Fifita
Goals: James Maloney 3