Sharks best Storm in wet
The Cronulla Sharks sealed a narrow 11-2 victory in an absorbing grand final rematch for their first win in Melbourne since 2008, handing the Melbourne Storm their first loss of 2017.
With points at a premium in heavy wet-weather conditions, the visitors were locked in a 2-2 tussle and James Maloney took the first opportunity in field-goal range to take a 3-2 lead with 10 minutes to play.
The Sharks made sure the return trip would be a happy one with five minutes to go as new-recruit James Segeyaro dove on his own grubber kick after Billy Slater had fumbled in his own in-goal.
The mistake came moments after Segeyaro had forced a drop-out from another pinpoint kick.
Despite another error-riddled half in slippery conditions, the Storm held a slender 2-0 half-time lead over the Sharks.
Melbourne completed just 14 of their 23 sets after absorbing plenty of pressure from the visitors in the half.
The Sharks dominated the opening exchanges before the Storm opened the scoring after Maloney was penalised for a high tackle to take the two-point lead in the 18th minute.
In a mirror reversal of the first half, it was the home side who came out firing to pin Cronulla against the ropes.
The visitors then added their own penalty goal to draw the scores level 2-2 to set up a grandstand finish in the final 25 minutes.
Both sides threw whatever they could at their counterpart but execution in the difficult conditions proved to be lacking throughout the second half.
In the end, it was the Sharks who capitalised on their opportunities to score the only try of the game before a late consolation penalty goal, ended the Storm’s unbeaten start this season.
Cronulla Sharks 11 (James Segyaro try; James Maloney 2 goals; Maloney field goal) def. Melbourne Storm 2 (Cameron Smith goal) at AAMI Park. Halftime: Storm 2-0