Storm v Sharks – review
Melbourne Storm put on a dazzling first half display in Cameron Smith’s 250th game to set up a comfortable 38-6 win over Cronulla at AAMI Park.
16,231 people braved a chilly Sunday night and they rewarded with an emphatic seven tries to one win to reassert the Purple Pride as Premiership contenders. They go to second on the table with a 9-2 record, only a point behind South Sydney.
Smith, one of the most respected and prolific figures in the game, was gifted with a complete team performance. Originally from Brisbane, Smith played junior rugby league for Logan Brothers before making his first grade debut in 2002. He is just the second player after Matt Geyer to appear in 250 Storm games. And 13 more games would see him eclipse Geyer to become the all-time games record holder at Melbourne.
Smith’s current contract expires at the end of next season and he has revealed he will weigh up all offers on the open market. However, he has also expressed how special it would be to be a one-club player and play 300 games for Melbourne.
Smith, along with Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Ryan Hoffman were all backing up from Wednesday night’s State of Origin match.
The opening try was orchestrated by Cooper Cronk who ingeniously kicked a brilliant 40/20 and then passed for Gareth Widdop before Maurice Blair finished in the left corner.
A bulldozing Hoffman crashed his way over for the Storm’s second before a defensive error by Sharks winger Sosaia Feki resulted in an easy Kevin Proctor try.
Further tries to Tohu Harris and Gareth Widdop had the match wrapped up for the
Storm by half time. They led 28-0.
Cronulla were not helping their cause thanks to shambolic mistakes such as kicking out on the full and throwing passes into touch.
Englishman Widdop, who had one of his best games, kicked a grubber for an easy pick-up try to Justin O’Neill in his 50th match.
Fullback Slater put the icing on the cake scoring the Storm’s seventh. Cronulla did at least avoid the ignominy of being held scoreless, with a late consolation try to Beau Ryan in the 77th minute.
Cronulla, who were without suspended captain Paul Gallen, had a four match winning streak snapped but still sit well poised at sixth on the table.
Melbourne host Newcastle at AAMI Park next Sunday afternoon, while Cronulla host last-placed Parramatta at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night.