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Sharks dig deep to break six-year drought in Melbourne

The Sharks overcame the absence of star playmaker Nicho Hynes to break a six-year drought at AAMI Park with a 25-18 win over the Storm on Saturday night.

After Hynes withdrew on game day with calf tightness, Daniel Atkinson and Blayke Brailey stepped up to guide the Sharks to an eighth win of the season.

It was Atkinson's field goal in the 74th minute that broke an 18-18 deadlock before a runaway try to Siosifa Talakai from the kick-off sealed the win.

On the back of a Harry Grant 40-20 kick in the 10th minute the Storm had a great chance to open the scoring but the final pass from Reimis Smith to Grant Anderson travelled forward.

The Storm took the lead after 15 minutes when Sharks fullback Will Kennedy was pinged for ruck interference and Nick Meaney knocked over the easy penalty shot.

Eliesa Katoa Try

Three minutes later the lead was out to 6-0 when Eli Katoa got into dummy half 10 metres out and carried two Sharks defenders over the line for the game's opening try.

The Sharks hit back in the 24th minute when late inclusion Tuku Hau Tapuha powered over from close range after a couple of six-again calls heaped pressure on the Storm defence.

With eight minutes remaining in the half Cameron Munster put his mark on the game with a superb pass to put Smith into a gaping hole for the Storm's second try. Meaney converted for a 12-6 lead.

Oregon Kaufusi Try

The Storm lost skipper Harry Grant to the sin bin in the 36th minute after he made late contact with Atkinson's legs after he had kicked the ball and the Sharks cashed in immediately when Oregon Kaufusi crashed over under the sticks.

A mistake by Nelson Asofa-Solomona coming out of his own end invited Cronulla into the red zone before a clever grubber by Atkinson earned the visitors a repeat set and Ramien dived over in the right hand corner to put the Sharks up 18-12.

An intercept and long charge by Kaufusi put the Sharks on the attack and looking for a killer blow but Xavier Coates soared high to defuse a bomb and the Storm came away.

With 11 minutes to play it was Melbourne's fill-in halfback Tyran Wishart cutting the Sharks open from close range to make it 18-16 and Meaney converted to tie things up at 18-18.

Atkinson's calmly taken one-pointer in the 74th minute put the Sharks back in front before Talakai scored straight from the restart after Ronaldo Mulitalo caught the kick-off and made 30 metres before putting the ball on a platter for Talakai to race away. Atkinson converted to make it 25-18.

Atkinson puts the Sharks ahead

The Storm had one last roll of the dice with three minutes to play when a high kick went up for Will Warbrick to chase but the winger couldn't control the catch and the Sharks hung on for their first win at AAMI Park since Round 22, 2018.

The Sharks have now won six on the trot and sit alone at the top of the Telstra Premiership ladder heading into a Magic Round clash against the Roosters.

Match Snapshot

  • The Sharks lost star playmaker Nicho Hynes to a calf injury after their captain's run on Friday.
  • The Sharks and Storm entered Round 10 in first and second place on the ladder. This was the first top-of-the-table clash since Round 4 last year when the Broncos (1) and Dolphins (2) clashed at Suncorp Stadium.
  • Storm hooker Harry Grant produced a 40-20 kick in the 10th minute of the match, the second 40-20 of his career.
  • Sharks forward Tom Hazelton left the field in the 19th minute for a HIA which he passed.
  • Storm hooker Harry Grant was placed on report and sin binned in the 36th minute for late contact with Daniel Atkinson's legs after he had kicked.

Grant kicks a 40/20

  • The Sharks completed 31 of 36 sets at 86 per cent while the Storm were 31 of 39 at 79 per cent.
  • Sharks centre Kayal Iro ran for 159 metres from 21 runs while his fellow centre Jesse Ramien bagged his 50th career try.
  • Storm fullback Sua Fa'alogo racked up 140 run metres and four tackle breaks in his first game deputising for Ryan Papenhuyzen.
  • Melbourne's loss ends a 14-game winning streak at AAMI Park.
  • Siosifa Talakai was huge off the bench for the Sharks with 181 run metres in 32 minutes of game time.
  • Tyran Wishart did a fine job filling in for Jahrome Hughes in the Storm No.7 with seven tackle breaks, one line break, 128 run metres and a try.

Grant sent to the bin

Play of the GameĀ 

With State of Origin just around the corner, Maroons magician Cameron Munster sent a reminder of his undeniable talent with a sublime pass to put Reimis Smith over for a try in the 32nd minute. Drifting across the line to the right, Munster delivered a pinpoint pass across the face of Shawn Blore and into the waiting arms of Smith, who strolled into the massive hole Munster's pass had opened up between Jesse Ramien and Blayke Brailey.

Reimis Smith Try

What they SaidĀ 

"I thought they were on top of us in the first half so to hang in there and get close and keep it like that at half-time, then I thought we hit the ground running in the second half so it was really pleasing. The stuff dreams are made of for Atko [Daniel Atkinson], he is everything as a team-mate you want. Turns up every day with a big smile on his face, the boys are so happy for him. To show the poise he did, to kick the ball the way he did, defend the way he did, take his chances and kick that field goal, that was a real big night for him." - Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon

Sharks: Round 10

"I don't like saying this but at different stages it looked like the game was more important to them than it was to us. And usually when that happens you get away with the win, which they did. I was really disappointed in how we started both halves. Having your captain off and your dummy half off [in the sin bin] doesn't make it any easier for us maybe the result would have gone the same way anyway. You'll never know. I think with any rules all we want is consistency. That's the mark now - you touch the kicker's leg, doesn't matter how hard, you go to the bin." - Storm coach Craig Bellamy

Storm: Round 10

What's Next

The Storm face the Eels on Sunday afternoon at Magic Round while the Sharks play the middle game of Saturday's triple-header against the Roosters.

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.