Stats That Matter - Round 4
It is the number neither team can seem to reach. That is now four consecutive meetings between Melbourne and Cronulla in which no side has been able to score 20 points against the other. It speaks to how tightly contested and gruelling this rivalry has become, with an average winning margin of just over six points over that stretch.
Ball control – they will be the two words that will be coming up in this game review over and over again. 15 was the final error count on Friday night, making it double digits for all four games so far this year. That has resulted in an average of nearly 14 errors per game for Melbourne this season, the most of any team in the competition and significantly higher than the 9.6 they averaged in 2017. It is an area that needs immediate addressing and one Craig Bellamy will no doubt be harping on every day at training next week.
The most penalties an NRL team has conceded in a game of rugby league since NRL.com Stats were recorded in 2002. Melbourne were on the wrong side of the referees whistle 19 times while the Sharks also conceded 14 penalties of their own. A total of 33 for the night made for stop-start football that at times led to frustration from both sides of the field. It will be interesting to see what the wash up will be following this game.
It was a frustrating night for the Melbourne Storm attack. Kept try-less was a sign that this team is still working through its early-season rust. The men in purple had plenty of good ball, with 61 per cent of territorial dominance however to the Sharks credit their defence had all the answers. In the first half alone Melbourne had 16 tackles inside the Cronulla 20 but could not find a way through.