Our best defence of the year: Bellamy

It was a win full of grit, determination and a whole lot of heart.

Storm left Shark Park on Thursday night with the two points and plenty of confidence as they moved two games clear on top of the NRL ladder.

Craig Bellamy’s men once again put in a trademark defensive showing, keeping Cronulla to under 20 points for the 18th consecutive game against them – a record dating back to 2005.

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The performance of the purple wall was rock-solid enough to cover up Melbourne’s slip ups with the football.

A lowly 68 per cent completion rate and 15 errors on the night is far from ideal but after producing a win like that, there is little reason to complain.

“I reckon that is probably our best defensive effort of the year, without a doubt,” Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.

“We brought it on ourselves with our handling errors but I couldn’t be prouder of their effort tonight defensively, I thought it was brilliant.”

The absence of superstar playmaker Cooper Cronk made the win all the more sweeter.

Ryley Jacks and Slade Griffin stepped up when needed and there will be more youngsters handed opportunity during the remainder of the Origin period.

While Storm would have preferred to have Cronk playing, his withdrawal does hold the side in good stead for the coming weeks.

“It gave guys like Ryley Jacks a chance to come into the team because we are going to be playing without these Origin players for another two games,” Bellamy said.

“It is nice to get those other guys in there and under the blow torch and there is no bigger blow torch than here at Shark Park.”