Storm cruise past Sharks in Melbourne

When it puts in its preference for the 2016 draw, Cronulla might have second thought about returning to Melbourne.

Two late tries made the result respectable but in truth the Sharks had no answer for Melbourne who romped to a 36-18 win in front of 13,015 fans at AAMI Park.

It is now three consecutive defeats for Cronulla is the southern state for an average losing margin of 30 points.

Melbourne were nothing but clinical on Saturday night, completing their first 14 sets for three tries and finishing the match with a completion rate of 89 per cent.

Tohu Harris lead the way with 153 metres and two tries to double his career tally while Marika Koroibete (165m, one try and an assist) and Jesse Bromwich (153m) his biggest challenge for man-of-the-match honours.

"I was really happy with our first 30 minutes I thought he was tremendous...We planned what we wanted to do tonight and I thought for the first 30 minutes we were really good with that plan," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.

"Lost our way a little bit in that last 10 minutes of the first half when we went away from what we were doing.

 

"But I thought it was a pretty good performance overall and certainly something we can build on."

Overwhelming underdogs pre-match, Cronulla could ill afford any errors but it took Michael Gordon just eight minutes to complete the first with his out-on-the-full kick handing Melbourne possession 40 meters out.

Cameron Smith made them pay with a swooping pass from dummy half to Harris who feigned out wide before going himself to score his try since Round 21, 2013.

The Storm had their second 10 minutes later as Marika Koribete gathered a loss ball meters out and looked inboard to find Cooper Cronk who walked in for the game's second.

Four minutes later Melbourne went 18-0 up when Blake Green played a deft touch to Harris for his second.  

To cap off a horror start the Sharks had David Fifita placed on report for a rough tackle on Smith.

But to the Sharks' credit they found a way back into the contest after the Storm had a fourth try disallowed in the 25th minutes courtesy of a Slater knock on.

The visitors dominated possession for the remainder of the half and were duly rewarded as Jeff Robson capped off three repeat sets in front of the purple line with a try to peg the margin back to 12 as the sides headed for the sheds.

The half-time siren could not have come at a worse time for the visitors who saw any momentum extinguished within five minutes of the restart.

A textbook set by Melbourne saw Harris, Kurt Mann and Koroibete link up in seemingly slow motion with the later claiming his first try of the season.

With the Sharks on the ropes, it was Melbourne skipper Smith who provided the knockout blow courtesy of some fancy footwork to sidestep three defenders to blow out the score to 30-6.

Will Chambers joined the party in the 59th minute before Valentine Holmes and Andrew Fifita made the score line respectable in a lackluster final 20 minutes.

The Storm will enjoy an eight-day break before travelling north to face the Cowboys next weekend while the Sharks host the also-winless Titans next Saturday.

Storm 36 (Harris 2 tries, Cronk, Koroibete, Smith, Chambers; Smith 6 goals) def. Sharks 18 (Robson, Holmes, A. Fifita; Gordon 3 goals). Crowd: 13,015. Half-time: 18-6.