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The 10 most memorable Sharks v Storm clashes

There's no denying the rivalry is alive and well between Melbourne and Cronulla leading into Friday night's preliminary final at AAMI Park on Friday night.

Following seasons of on-field feuds between the Storm and Sea Eagles during the 2008-2014 era, that mantra has now flowed through to the Sharks.

Most suggest it is has flowed from the Holden State of Origin arena in recent seasons with a large contingent from both NSW and Queensland featuring for both sides.

Paul Gallen has been labelled Queensland public enemy number one over the years, while the Storm are represented by possible future immortals Cameron Smith and Billy Slater.

More recently it has been back-and-forth between Gallen and centre Will Chambers on the paddock, while Andrew Fifita and James Segeyaro aren't far away from the verbal battle.

The Sharks have earned a reputation as being able to do what most NRL rivals struggle to achieve - they have rattled Melbourne's cage in recent years, winning four of the last five clashes, including the 2016 grand final. looks back at 10 memorable clashes in the lead-up to Friday's preliminary final at AAMI Park.

2003, Round 1 - Storm 36, Sharks 32
After a strong 2002 season, Cronulla opened their campaign hosting Melbourne at Shark Park with the Storm running out with a young Billy Slater, who scored a try in his NRL debut. Cronulla led the game 32-24 in a see-sawing battle in humid conditions with five minutes remaining until Matt Orford split the defence close to the line to get the Storm within two. The final knockout came for the Storm against the run of play with Sharks halfback Brett Kimmorley kicking the ball into the legs of Peter Robinson, who found Stephen Bell in support to send Matt Geyer over in a 90-metre display.

Billy Slater in his NRL debut.
Billy Slater in his NRL debut. ©NRL Photos

2007, Round 21 - Storm 17, Sharks 16
The Sharks were trying to keep their fading finals hopes alive on a Monday night at Shark Park against the runaway competition leaders. After tries to Henry Perenara and Ben Pomeroy, the underdogs held a 14-12 lead at half-time. They could only manage a penalty goal in the second half. The Storm jumped to 16 points when Matt King scored but Israel Folau, filling in as goal kicker, missed the conversion. Up stepped Cooper Cronk to kick the decisive field goal to sink the Sharks and all but end their hopes of playing in the finals.

Sharks centre Ben Pomeroy in 2007.
Sharks centre Ben Pomeroy in 2007. ©NRL Photos

2008, Round 2 – Sharks 17, Storm 16
A game marred with controversy with Sharks prop Ben Ross sent off for elbowing Cronk in the head following a kick as the Sharks led 16-12 in the 66th minute. Folau latched onto the cross-field kick to score the try but Storm prop Brett White was also sent from the paddock for taking exception to Ross's tackle attempt by punching his opposite number in the face. Cronulla reversed the scoreline from their previous clash through a Brett Kimmorley field goal.

Ben Ross is marched in 2008.
Ben Ross is marched in 2008. ©NRL Photos

2008, preliminary final – Storm 28, Sharks 0
After a big victory over Canberra, the Sharks faced off against Melbourne in the grand final qualifier with pressure building for the club's first premiership. The Sharks were favourites after Cameron Smith and Jeremy Smith were suspended but in one of the greatest performances in the Storm's history, the depleted side held their nerve and put the Sharks to the sword in embarrassing fashion to advance to the grand final without two of their most important players.

The Storm celebrate their 2008 win.
The Storm celebrate their 2008 win. ©NRL Photos

2012, Round 25 – Storm 20, Sharks 18
It was a see-sawing contest at AAMI Park where the Sharks did enough to take an 18-10 lead with just over two minutes on the clock. A charging run from Ryan Hoffman got the Storm to within two with 45 seconds left. Slater combined with Cronk down the right edge, before Sisa Waqa took the risk play to play down the short side and create an overlap for Will Chambers to dive over in the corner. 

Ryan Hoffman scores in 2012.
Ryan Hoffman scores in 2012. ©NRL Photos

2016, grand final – Sharks 14, Storm 12
Both sides progressed to the preliminary final and enjoyed a week off leading into the biggest match-up between both clubs. The Sharks looked the more comfortable side going into the decider with Melbourne just scraping through with a two-point victory against Canberra. In a tense battle, a second-half try to Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita proved the match-winner despite a last-play roll of the dice from Melbourne that almost came off. The Sharks claimed their first trophy in their 50th season.

The Sharks' greatest day.
The Sharks' greatest day. ©NRL Photos

Round 6, 2017 – Sharks 11, Storm 2
High stakes were on the line in the grand final rematch at AAMI Park with the Sharks having never beaten the Storm at the venue in eight outings. The slippery conditions produced a tight affair with a 2-2 and there were verbal tirades on show both at halftime and fulltime in the encounter. The scoreline became 3-2 late through a James Maloney field goal for Cronulla before interchange hooker James Segeyaro sealed the result with a scrappy four-pointer from his own kick.

Sharks v Storm in 2017.
Sharks v Storm in 2017. ©NRL Photos

Round 14, 2017 – Storm 18, Sharks 13
In another edition of spite night, Shane Flanagan called out Cameron Smith as "referee Smith" following a last-minute defeat to Melbourne on home turf. The Storm trailed 13-12 late until a short kick-off from Smith enabled Slater to set Felise Kaufusi up for his second of the night and match-winner on full-time.

Cameron Smith and Billy Slater make a tackle.
Cameron Smith and Billy Slater make a tackle. ©NRL Photos

2018, round 4 – Sharks 14, Storm 4
In a match riddled with controversy and ill-discipline, 33 penalties were blown, including the sin-binning of Cameron Smith for dissent. Cronulla claimed a 14-4 victory in front of their faithful as tensions boiled over late in the game with Paul Gallen and Nelson Asofa-Solomona coming together to ensure no love was lost between the clubs. 

Sharks and Storm players vent their anger.
Sharks and Storm players vent their anger. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

2018, round 22 – Sharks 17, Storm 14
Cronulla were up 13-4 at half-time in the same week Slater announced his retirement at season's end. Melbourne clawed their way back to take the lead 14-13 but a Josh Dugan try with seven minutes remaining delivered the Sharks a memorable win away from home at AAMI Park.

Jayden Brailey scores for the Sharks.
Jayden Brailey scores for the Sharks. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos
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