Sharks v Storm: Five key points
The Sharks ended a horrible recent record against the Storm to hand the visitors their first loss of the 2016 season. Here are five key points from their Round 4 clash.
Hot and cold night for Holmes
Despite running for a team-high 174 metres and breaking the line twice, Sharks winger Valentine Holmes was far from perfect.
The electric youngster had several chances to score against the Storm, but came up with simple errors with the try-line begging.
But with the game in the balance early in the second stanza, Holmes seized the moment to set up Chad Townsend for what proved to be the winning try.
Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan paid tribute to Holmes's resilience to bounce back from his mistakes, and praised his ability to play through injury.
"He's such a determined young bloke, Val. He came back and put on that try for us," Flanagan said after the game.
"You're going to get that with young kids sometimes. They're going to come up with some errors but they come up with those big plays as well.
"He was disappointed. He had a bit of an injury there [thumb] so I just said to him that this would test him out," the Sharks coach added.
"I said 'You're going to play busted and you need to bounce back from errors' and he did really well. He's going to be around for a long time and he's a superstar of the game."
Storm facing a crisis in the outside backs
Melbourne's already thin stocks in the outside backs have been stretched further with rookie centre Curtis Scott suffering what club officials say is a suspected fractured left fibula.
The 18-year-old left Southern Cross Group Stadium in a moon-boot and is set for scans on Tuesday morning.
"It looks like he's got a fractured bone in his leg," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.
"That's obviously not good for us, but for him to play on for 10 minutes when they thought he had a cork... he's obviously a tough kid too. We know he's made of the right stuff, so we'll be happy when he comes back.
"We're getting really tight for outside backs at the moment. Billy is gone, Curtis is going to be gone for six or eight weeks, Cheyse Blair is injured and Jeremy Hawkins is injured, so we're really struggling for outside backs."
Melbourne could also be without winger Marika Koroibete after he was placed on report for what looked like a trip on Chad Townsend.
Bellamy wasn't willing to speculate on any possible punishment.
"I only saw it quickly so I didn't sort of look at the replay. That's out of our hands. They'll have a look at that and make a decision."
Gallen looks set to return for the Sharks as soon as next week
Inspirational Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen missed his third straight game with a knee injury, but his coach says he should be back next week; that's if he gets picked.
"We don't need him do we?" Flanagan joked.
"He was close this week. He'll be back next week. We've got some sore boys in there tonight, so it'll be a welcomed return.
"He's a tough patient. He wants everything to be fixed straight away. He's been tough in rehab. He's worked really hard in there, but he's impatient, and he wants to get back as soon as possible."
Flanagan says it will be a blessing to have his captain back for the clash with Wests Tigers, especially considering his side has only five days to recover.
"It'll be a timely return with a five day turnaround. He was probably just a little bit short tonight. He's still got a little bit of swelling after he trained. It's a long season so we don't need to rush him at this stage."
Munster continues to lead from the front... and the back
While Bellamy admitted his side had been outplayed, he was particularly pleased with the way his fullback played on Monday night.
Cameron Munster continued his terrific form at the back filling in for injured teammate Billy Slater, running for 219 metres, breaking the line twice and defusing every kick sent his way.
"He's a wonderful player for us. His work-rate is tremendous, and I thought his second-half especially was outstanding," Bellamy said.
"He tries hard, Munster, and he's a good tough kid. I thought our back three in general did a good job all-round. They had plenty of runs for us when we were coming out of our half a fair bit."
Sharks break their drought against the Storm
After having their dreadful record against the Sea Eagles extended last Monday night, the Sharks bounced back to end another prolonged losing streak against Melbourne with a gutsy eight point win at home.
The Sharks had only won twice since 2005 against the Melburnians leading into Monday night's clash, but broke through for what could be a crucial win even this early in the season.
Their next challenge will be to score 20 points against the Storm; something they haven't done since August, 2005.