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The heat always goes up a notch when Cronulla and Melbourne meet these days, with their rivalry stemming from the Sharks' epic 2016 grand final win.

Melbourne outlasted Manly in a grinding match in round one, while the Sharks staged a mighty fightback against South Sydney but a forward pass at the death denied them a try to level the scores.

It will be a strange feeling for Cronulla to host Melbourne in the Dragons den of Netstrata Jubilee Oval in Kogarah - especially when there won't be any fans there to give the venue a "home" vibe.

The Rundown

Team news

Sharks: Josh Dugan won't play, while Scott Sorensen will start in place of Briton Nikora in the back-row. Bill Magoulias has been elevated from the reserves to the bench. Royce Hunt and Brayden Trindall were trimmed from the reserves on Friday night. The Sharks have lost seven of their past nine games at Netstrata Jubilee.

Storm: No alterations to the 17-man team that took care of Manly on the road last week. Dale Finucane was bloodied after a head knock but has been cleared to play. Harry Grant and Brenko Lee were the last players cut before kick-off, while Ryley Jacks and Darren Schonig were omitted from the squad on Friday.

Key match-up

Blayke Brailey v Cameron Smith. It's been some sort of initiation to life as a bona fide starting NRL dummy-half for young Brailey - his first rival No.9 was Damien Cook and now he's up against arguably the greatest of all time. Both men will play important roles controlling the middle for their sides.

Where it'll be won and lost

The Sharks of the past have scrapped their way to victory over Melbourne, who like to play a similar style. Cronulla showed some flair in the second-half against South Sydney, however, with Shaun Johnson the architect - and that could be the blueprint to victory this time. The machine-like Storm will look to nail the basics as usual: defending stoutly, completing well and waiting for mistakes they can capitalise on. Simple but effective.

Brett Kimmorley says

A great rivalry that started in the 2016 grand final. Melbourne were really good in the arm-wrestle against Manly, that's the style of footy they play. The Sharks created some opportunities against Souths, especially as the game flowed on, and they had a chance to win with some better execution. They're Melbourne's bogey team and can get the job done. Sharks by 4.

Stat Attack

The Sharks and Storm split two meetings last year. Cronulla prevailed 20-18 on home turf in round eight before Melbourne exacted revenge in no uncertain terms with a 40-16 triumph in round 17. Brandon Smith scored two of the Storm's six tries.

And another thing…

There isn't much between these sides usually, with nine of their past 11 clashes totalling 32 points or less.