Sharks fail to weather the Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks fail to weather the Storm

By Guy Hand 26/07/2009 10:00:39 AM Comments (0)

Melbourne overpowered an undermanned Cronulla reeling from injuries including a heavy concussion to Trent Barrett for a 30-10 win in their NRL clash at Olympic Park on Saturday night.

The Storm overcame the loss of three star players including Greg Inglis prior to kick-off to grind out the victory, leaving their best until the final 20 minutes before seeing off the stubborn Sharks.

But the Sharks' job was made near impossible after losing four players during the match for varying stints because of injury, including playmaker Barrett when accidentally struck in the head by Storm prop Brett White's hip during a second half tackle.

Barrett was heavily dazed and fell over unprompted soon after, but following a stint on the sidelines bravely played out the match.

"Very crook," was Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart's assessment of his NSW Origin star following the match.

"Trent being Trent, he's a tough guy and he wouldn't come off the field. It's a big effort on his part."

Sharks centre Matt Wright sustained a possible neck or back injury when hit in a first half tackle from Storm prop Jeff Lima, which was put on report by the referees.

Wright was left prone on the ground for several minutes after the tackle by Lima and Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith.

While Wright got up and walked off the field under his own steam, he did not play any further part in the match.

Also injured for the Sharks were reserve Johnny Mannah (back) early in the game, and prop Kane Snowden, who was sidelined for much of the match with an arm injury before returning to action the second half.

Despite the scores being deadlocked at 6-6 early in the second half, the Sharks' truncated interchange eventually took its toll.

Four second half tries in 10 minutes broke the match open for the Storm, to keep Melbourne in the top four and leave the Sharks at wooden spoon peril.

Inglis was a late withdrawals from the Melbourne side because of a groin problem.

Back-rowers Ryan Hoffman (hamstring) and Dallas Johnson (shoulder) had also been ruled out after failing to recover from injuries sustained against Parramatta on Monday.

But the Storm still took a slender advantage to the break, thanks to the sole try of the half to late replacement Brett Anderson in the 15th minute.

Anderson ran on to a neat one-handed pass from fullback Billy Slater to register the only points of an error-strewn opening 40 minutes.

A Smith penalty helped the Storm move to a 6-0 lead early in the second half, before the Sharks squared things up with a converted try to winger Luke Covell on 54 minutes.

But tries in quick succession to Melbourne's Joseph Tomane, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Anderson's second and centre Will Chambers put the match beyond doubt.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said he was pleased with the result coming after the club's heavy workload during the State of Origin series, a hard NRL game the previous Monday night and the pre-match disruption.

"You lose those important players - Johnson and Inglis and Hoffman - it takes a lot out of your side," Bellamy said.

"I would have liked to play that last 20 minutes a little bit earlier in the game, but I thought our defence really held us in the game and it was the reason we probably ended up winning the game."

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