Storm smash Sharks with first-half blitz
Melbourne have moved back onto the winners list in emphatic fashion with a 48-6 win over Cronulla in front of 12,185 fans at AAMI Park.
Sharks undermanned and outclassed
Defensive effort pleases Storm brains trust
Chambers enjoying purple patch at the right time
WATCH: Sisa Waqa finishes off a great Storm try
WATCH: Storm v Sharks highlights
WATCH: Storm press conference
WATCH: Sharks press conference
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The 42-point win marked the Victorian side's biggest ever victory over the boys from the Shire.
It was set up in a first half that looked as those it was men up against boys.
The Storm piled on six tries to nil as the visitors resembled light-blue witches hats in a 40-minute performance befitting their place at the foot of the NRL ladder.
Whichever way you looked at it – be it the 68-32 possession count, 18 missed tackles, or 688 fewer run metres – it was the opening stanza from hell for the Sharks that saw them trail 30-nil at the break.
To their credit the second half was a much more even contest but it was a case of far too little too late.
In Andrew Fiffita's absence the Sharks simply had no answer for rival prop Jesse Bromwich. The Kiwi international ran for 207 metres (including 178 in the first half), a try and plenty of help. Eight Melbourne players had more than 100 metres to their name by the end of the contest.
The Storm were on top from the start, with the game's opening try coming from a well-known script.
A Cooper Cronk cross-field kick to Marika Koroibete allowed the winger to play a game of one-two with centre Mahe Fonua.
Koroibete has made a habit of bulldozing opposition fullbacks and Michael Gordon was this week's victim, bouncing off the Fijian as the winger grounded for the game's opening try.
Not to be outdone, Fonua topped the efforts of his left-side teammate 10 minutes later.
The Victorian willed his way over the line for his side's second, carrying four Sharks players with him and using every bit of the leg strength that had allowed him to leg press 250 kilograms in the pre-season.
All the early signs pointed to a long night for the Sharks who found themselves 10-nil down with just 38 per cent of possession and 12 missed tackles in the opening 20 minutes.
If the first 20 was bad, the nightmare had only began for the visitors as the Storm piled on three more tries in the space of seven minutes.
Cronk and Billy Slater played two zipping cross-field passes with Sisa Waqa happily accepting the gift to stroll over the line for his 17th and arguably easiest try of the season.
Bromwich joined the party four minutes later, crashing through a hapless Cronulla line to score under the posts and make it 20-nil for the home side.
For every minute that passed Storm seemed to score another try, this time Fonua crossing for his second courtesy of a clinical Ben Roberts pass.
If there was a rock bottom, the Sharks found a place below that five minutes before the break.
Jeff Robson was reported for a trip on Slater then Chambers stepped around him with effortless ease to make it six tries to nil heading into the sheds.
The Sharks emerged from halftime to put in their best attacking play of the game and would have hit the scoreboard in the 46th minute had Sosaia Feki's right foot not brushed the touchline.
On 50 minutes the Storm pulled further ahead as Bromwich continued to monster the Sharks through the middle, laying a deft offload to Tim Glasby for his first try of the season.
To the Sharks' credit they put in a second half display that would give their supporters some heart, with the visitors enjoying the brunt of possession and territory.
They finally got their reward 66 minutes into the contest as Valentine Holmes evaded the touchline to ground the in the midst of a Slater tackle near the sideline.
Glasby and Jordan McLean would lay a double icing on the cake in the final five minutes to end a memorable night for the home crowd and send the Sharks home with their tail well and truly between their legs.
The Storm travel to Penrith next for Monday night football while the Sharks host the Raiders on Sunday.