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Storm chasers: Sharks show they have measure of title pace-setters

Date

Glenn Jackson

Sharks 12 Storm 10

Todd Carney of the Sharks.

Todd Carney of the Sharks. Photo: Getty Images

Even through their six-match winning streak, which was abruptly ended by South Sydney last week, Cronulla were always waiting for this one to really prove a point.

MATCH STATS

Isaac Gordon of the Sharks scores a try.

Isaac Gordon of the Sharks scores a try. Photo: Getty Images

That they won yesterday against the best, without their own best in skipper Paul Gallen, did just that. And in depriving Melbourne - previously unbeaten - of any points of their own in the second half, they did so in remarkable style. Actually, it wasn't anything close to stylish, but it had more than enough substance.

The Sharks wanted to win, though, not just to prove a point to themselves, but to everyone else who might have felt that their resurgence was merely a temporary one.

''Finally, I think a lot of people will stand up and take a bit of notice,'' Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan said. ''We can play football, and we are a good team.''

Matt Duffie of the Storm scores in the corner.

Matt Duffie of the Storm scores in the corner. Photo: Getty Images

Right now, the Sharks sit in third spot, behind Melbourne and Brisbane. But yesterday, they were still above the Storm in so many ways, desire and drive being the important ones. The Sharks, traditionally so maligned, have now beaten premiers Manly and the premiers-elect.

''I thought it was a massive opportunity for us,'' Flanagan said. ''As a club, we still haven't got a major sponsor, and hopefully someone sees that we have got a good football team here. We need that support.

''I spoke to the players about … opportunities don't come too often. We've got a good football team and we need to capitalise on that.''

Storms Ryan Hoffman. Click for more photos

Sharks weather the Storm

Rugby League, Round 10 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v Melbourne Storm at Toyota Stadium on May 13th, 2012. The Sharks won 12 - 10. All photographs by Steve Christo. Selected Images available from www.fairfaxsyndication.com. Photo: Steve Christo

This was always going to be the Sharks' real test. Every one of the six wins in a row that the Sharks managed were always prefaced by the realisation that a clash with the Storm was around the corner. If this Cronulla side is to be a premiership-winning one, they will have to beat the best. They did so by being the best; they played not only to their own strengths but to Melbourne's.

''We just tried to play Melbourne at what they're good at,'' Flanagan said. ''They are patient, well-drilled, and they've got structures in place in offence and defence. We tried to do that as best we could, match them in those areas and I think we did that, especially defensively. We weren't that good in attack, to be fair, but outstanding in defence.''

Melbourne had all their key personnel but they were still far from their best, which came from a combination of their own sloppiness and the Sharks' own determination. Even without Gallen, the Sharks scrapped on their own try line and at the other end they had five-eighth Todd Carney to exploit the Storm's failings.

For much of the contest, the Storm appeared like they were about to bust loose, scoring in the 13th minute, when returning winger Isaac Gordon allowed a Cooper Cronk bomb to bounce, allowing Dane Nielsen to score. But the Sharks hit back swiftly, through Gordon, after good lead-up work by fullback Matthew Wright.

The Storm again looked to flex their attacking muscle when a quick spread left gave winger Matt Duffie a try. Yet the Sharks' resilience was always impressive.

Following Storm fullback Billy Slater's 55th-minute sin-binning, after he had shouldered halfback Jeff Robson, Melbourne held firm. In what was a critical period of the match, the Sharks lost possession several times, and when they did look like scoring, through winger John Williams, the Melbourne defence did the job in the fullback's absence. The Sharks could have become disheartened when Slater strode back onto the field, but they were clearly searching for a higher cause. One they found; recognition.

 CRONULLA 12 (I Gordon, J Smith tries; T Carney 2 goals) bt MELBOURNE 10 (M Duffie, D Nielsen tries; C Smith goal) at Toyota Stadium. Referees: Jason Robinson, Ben Cummins. Crowd: 14,595.

 

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Rugby League, Round 10 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v Melbourne Storm at Toyota Stadium on May 13th, 2012. The Sharks won 12 - 10. All photographs by Steve Christo. Selected Images available from www.fairfaxsyndication.com.

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NRL Season 2015

Round 1
Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6 vs SOU 36 Report Stats
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 42 vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 24 vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18 vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4 vs SYD 28 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 24 vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20 vs CBR 24 Report Stats
Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
STG 4 vs MEL 12 Report Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBY 32 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
CRO 2 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
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PEN 40 vs GCT Report Stats
MAN 24 vs MEL 22 Stats
NQL 14 vs NEW 16 Report Stats
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SOU 34 vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6 vs NZW 18 Report Stats
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WST 22 vs STG 4 Stats
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MAN 12 vs CBY 16 Report Stats
BRI 44 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
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NZW 29 vs PAR 16 Report Stats
CBR 20 vs STG 22 Report Stats
MEL 36 vs CRO 18 Report Stats
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SOU 20 vs WST 6 Report Stats
GCT 18 vs NEW 20 Report Stats
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SYD 20 vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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Round 4
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PAR 29 vs SOU 16 Report Stats
WST 24 vs CBY 25 Report Stats
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NEW 26 vs PEN 14 Report Stats
CRO 22 vs GCT 24 Report Stats
STG 12 vs MAN 4 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 16 vs BRI 24 Report Stats
SYD 34 vs CBR 6 Report Stats
Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL 18 vs MEL 17 Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
CBY 17 vs SOU 18 Report Stats
GCT 16 vs BRI 26 Report Stats
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MAN 16 vs CBR 29 Report Stats
NEW vs STG 13 Report Stats
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SYD 12 vs CRO 20 Report Stats
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PAR 6 vs WST 22 Report Stats
MEL 30 vs NZW 14 Report Stats
PEN 10 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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Round 6
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BRI 22 vs SYD 18 Report Stats
CRO 22 vs NEW 6 Report Stats
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PAR 16 vs GCT 38 Report Stats
NZW 32 vs WST 22 Report Stats
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CBR 10 vs MEL 14 Report Stats
STG 31 vs CBY 6 Report Stats
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SOU 12 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 28 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
GCT 32 vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28 vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17 vs SYD 16 Report Stats
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WST 22 vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22 vs PAR 28 Report Stats
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CRO 18 vs SOU 10 Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 14 vs WST 38 Stats
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NZW 28 vs GCT 32 Report Stats
NEW 24 vs NQL 26 Report Stats
SYD 12 vs STG 14 Report Stats
MEL 10 vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28 vs PAR 16 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN 26 vs CRO 18 Stats
SOU 22 vs CBR 30 Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 8 vs PEN 5 Report Stats
SYD 36 vs WST 4 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 56 vs GCT 16 Stats
CRO 16 vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23 vs CBY 16 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 30 vs NEW 10 Stats
PAR 10 vs MEL 28 Stats
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 16 vs STG 10 Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY 10 vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31 vs BRI 20 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR 13 vs NZW 17 Report Stats
GCT 22 vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16 vs SOU 12 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG 32 vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22 vs WST 12 Stats
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 10 vs PEN 11 Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 14 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
WST vs NQL 8 Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 34 vs CBY 41 Stats
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW 18 vs BRI 31 Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN 20 vs PAR 26 Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT 16 vs SOU 22 Report Stats
CBR 12 vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18 vs MAN 14 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW vs NEW 14:00MSS
STG vs CRO 16:00Jubilee Oval
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs MEL 19:00AS
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Round 13
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MAN 19:35SUN
WST vs GCT 19:35VAS
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs CBR 15:00HS
SOU vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
PEN vs MEL 19:30Pepper Stadium
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO vs SYD 16:00Remondis Stadium
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY vs STG 16:00ANZ
PAR vs NQL 19:00Pirtek Stadium
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Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST vs SOU 19:45ANZ
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW vs SYD 18:00MSS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT vs CBY 16:00Cbus Super Stadium
Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs PAR 19:00AAMI
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Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN vs WST 19:45BO
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NQL 15:00GIO Stadium
GCT vs NZW 17:30Cbus Super Stadium
CBY vs PEN 19:30ANZ
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs CRO 14:00HS
MEL vs BRI 16:00AAMI
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG vs SYD 19:00AS
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Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs NEW 19:35SUN
SOU vs MAN 19:35ANZ
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW vs CBR 15:00MSS
NQL vs CRO 17:301300 Smiles Stadium
PAR vs STG 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs GCT 14:00AS
WST vs PEN 16:00VAS
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY vs MEL 19:00Belmore Sports Ground
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Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs SOU 19:45Pepper Stadium
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG vs NQL 19:30WIN
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs CRO 16:00BO
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST vs PAR 19:00ANZ
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Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NEW 19:45GIO Stadium
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs SYD 17:30Pepper Stadium
CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs MEL 14:00MSS
CRO vs STG 16:00Remondis Stadium
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus Super Stadium
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Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CBY 19:35ANZ
MEL vs PEN 19:35AAMI
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs CRO 15:00GIO Stadium
NEW vs GCT 17:30HS
STG vs SOU 19:30SCG
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NZW 14:00AS
BRI vs WST 16:00SUN
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs NQL 19:00BO
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Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI vs GCT 19:35SUN
WST vs SYD 19:35ANZ
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs MAN 15:00MSS
SOU vs NEW 17:30ANZ
MEL vs STG 19:30AAMI
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs CBR 14:00Pepper Stadium
CBY vs CRO 16:00Belmore Sports Ground
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs PAR 19:001300 Smiles Stadium
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Round 21
Thu, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs CRO 22:00MSS
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs CBR 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
SOU vs PEN 00:00ANZ
SYD vs CBY 00:00AS
MAN vs BRI 00:00TBA
WST vs MEL 00:00VAS
GCT vs PAR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
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Round 22
Thu, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs STG 22:00MSS
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
NEW vs SYD 00:00HS
CBR vs WST 00:00GIO Stadium
MAN vs SOU 00:00BO
CRO vs NQL 00:00Remondis Stadium
MEL vs GCT 00:00AAMI
PAR vs PEN 00:30TIO
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Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STG 00:00SUN
CBY vs GCT 00:00TBA
NQL vs SOU 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
PEN vs NZW 00:00Pepper Stadium
CBR vs MAN 00:00GIO Stadium
SYD vs PAR 00:00AS
CRO vs MEL 00:00Remondis Stadium
WST vs NEW 00:00CSS
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Wed, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs NQL 22:00MSS
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG vs PEN 00:00WIN
SOU vs CBY 00:00ANZ
SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
MAN vs PAR 00:00BO
CRO vs WST 00:00Remondis Stadium
MEL vs NEW 00:00AAMI
GCT vs CBR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CRO 00:00Pirtek Stadium
NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
SOU vs BRI 00:00AS
CBR vs PEN 00:00GIO Stadium
MAN vs SYD 00:00BO
MEL vs NQL 00:00AAMI
WST vs NZW 00:00CSS
GCT vs STG 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MEL 00:00SUN
CBY vs NZW 00:00ANZ
NQL vs GCT 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
STG vs WST 00:00ANZ
PAR vs CBR 00:00Pirtek Stadium
PEN vs NEW 00:00Pepper Stadium
SYD vs SOU 00:00AS
CRO vs MAN 00:00Remondis Stadium
View All Fixtures
NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D Pts
Brisbane Broncos 12 9 3 0 18
North Queensland Cowboys 12 9 3 0 18
Melbourne Storm 10 7 3 0 16
St George-Illawarra Dragons 10 7 3 0 16
South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 7 5 0 14
Sydney Roosters 10 5 5 0 12
Warriors 10 5 5 0 12
Penrith Panthers 11 5 6 0 12
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