Melbourne Storm vs Cronulla Sharks, live stream, live blog, SuperCoach scores, videos, Cameron Munster, Nicho Hynes

The Storm have beaten the Sharks 34-18 in arguably the game of the season with both sides witnessing masterclasses from Cameron Munster and Siosifa Talakai.

In a frantic start the Sharks lost skipper Dale Finucane to a HIA early and he was ruled out for the rest of the game.

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The Sharks drew first blood with a penalty goal to Nicho Hynes to make it 2-0.

The Storm hit back with a try to Justin Olam after a beautiful cut-out pass from Cameron Munster put Nick Meaney in space.

“That was a magic pass there from Munster,” Greg Alexander said.

In-form Sharks center Siosifa Talakai finished off a brilliant long-range try inspired by Hynes to take a 8-6 lead.

However, Munster produced a scintillating solo try to see the Storm retake the lead at 12-8, which they held onto until halftime.

The Storm started the stronger in the second half getting a scrum off the kick-off that went into touch, before Olam scored off a Jahrome Hughes pass from the scrum.

Talakai then set up a try for Ronaldo Mulitalo to get the Sharks right back in the contest at 18-12.

However, Munster produced a near carbon copy of his earlier try, but this time passed to Papenhuyzen to score to make it 24-12.

The Sharks would not go down without a fight with Talakai setting up a second try for Mulitalo to make it 24-18 with 17 minutes to play.

Harry Grant all but killed off the Sharks when he dived over from close range to make it 30-18 with 14 minutes on the clock.

The Storm kicked away with two late penalty goals to put the game beyond doubt.

Here are the key takeaways from the match

MUNSTER DRIVES UP ASKING PRICE IN MASTER CLASS

The Storm will have to up their offer to Cameron Munster if they want to ward of the Dolphins because he is driving up his value by the game.

Munster was the difference between the two sides in an epic contest finishing with 121 run meters, five tackle busts, two linebreaks, a linebreak assist, a try assist and a try in a performance that went close to a perfect 10.

Munster set up the first try of the game with a brilliant pass to give the Storm an 8-6 lead, which Greg Alexander was in awe of.

“That was a magic pass there from Munster,” Alexander said.

“He saw the center and winger both come off their line. Ramien realized too late that he didn’t have the height to get a touch on the ball.

“The ball went straight to Nick Meaney, straight across the face of two Storm players. The two Sharks players came up empty-handed.”

Then with the Storm trailing 8-6 in the first half Munster took it up himself to get his team back in the lead with a brilliant long-range solo try.

“Munster is putting on a show tonight,” Dan Ginnane said.

“He did it with his hands the first try. He has done it with his legs and smarts right there.

“That was a good little advertisement. Of course his future still undecided and this is a very big stage tonight. Not that he needs to prove himself. What a night he is having.”

Alexander lauded Munster’s ability to change the course of a game by creating something out of nothing.

“With his side down 8-6 that is a huge individual effort there from Munster,” Alexander said.

“Every skill that he has got he produced. The show inside. The ability to beat a tackle. The dummy. The fooling of the cover defence.

“It was all on show in that 30 meter run to the line.

“Everything in his kitbag on show right there from Cameron Munster.”

Corey Parker and Cooper Cronk believe Munster was the difference between the two sides in a tight battle.

“The man of the moment Cameron Munster comes up with a peach of a pass to the left-hand side before Justin Olam crashes over in the corner,” Parker said.

“The No.6 for the Storm had his fingerprints all over this game.”

“Munster just wheeling and dealing on the left-hand side,” Cronk said.

“His try was a great individual effort.”

The Sharks again closed in on the Storm at 18-12 in the second half before Munster produced another dummy and go to put Ryan Papenhuyzen over untouched to all but seal the game.

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TALAKAI AND OLAM STAR AT EPIC CLASH OF CENTERS

There were plenty of eye-catching displays in the Storm’s clash with the Sharks in arguably the game of the season to date, but none more so than those from centers Justin Olam and Siosifa Talakai.

Olam proved why he is the reigning Dally M center of the year with a masterful double, while Talakai had his hands all over almost everything the Sharks did.

Olam had 118 run meters, seven tackle busts, a linebreak and two tries, while Talakai had 163 metres, six tackle busts, a linebreak, two linebreak assists, two try assists and a try.

Talakai arguably finished off the team try of the season, which came from deep in the Sharks territory.

Nicho Hynes produced a cross-field kick deep in his own half and the ball went through multiple sets of hands before Talakai scored at the other end of the field.

“Talakai sensational Cronulla try,” Ginnane said.

“One end to the other. The stones to take a huge risk near their own line and it has paid off to perfection.”

Corey Parker argued Talakai has been the Sharks most consistent player all season.

“Talakai has been one of their best players,” Parker said.

“He scores over in the left-hand corner. By far the best game of football this season.

“It’s been one amazing game of football.”

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HYNES SHINES IN RETURN TO STORM

He may have been in a beaten side, but Nicho Hynes was still one of the best players on the field in his return to Melbourne for the first time since joining Cronulla.

Hynes had 23 run meters, a tackle bust, a linebreak assist and three clutch conversions, but it was the things that don’t show up in the stats sheet which showed his importance to the Sharks side.

Benji Marshall believes Hynes came up with the play of the first half when he produced a chip kick inside his own territory for Jesse Ramien, which set up Talakai’s try at the other end of the field.

“I love Nicholas Hynes’ play here,” Marshall said.

“He knows the Melbourne Storm system inside out. Compressed defence. They were rushing him and Nicho Hynes had the presence of mind to kick this across for the outside player.

“In the end they scored off the back of that play.

“What a special player he is.”

Greg Alexander and Corey Parker heaped praise on Hynes for his vision.

“What a play that was from Nicho Hynes,” Alexander said.

“I had just said this is going to be a very tough set and there is the kick form Hynes to Ramien.”

“A little heads up play from Nicho Hynes,” Parker said.

“Returns serve against his old club. They go down that right hand side before they come across to the left. Brilliant play.”

The Storm got the chocolates but the battle between Munster and Hynes was worth the price of admission alone.

“It is the battle between the two superstars of each side Cameron Munster and Nicho Hynes,” Marshall said.

“They have really turned up the heat.”

MATCH PREVIEW

Nicho Hynes and Dale Finucane return to face their old club when the Melbourne Storm host the Cronulla Sharks at AAMI Park.

The Storm have been rocked by Bromwich brothers Jesse and Kenny being ruled out due to Covid, with Brandon Smith starting at prop and Alec MacDonald joining the bench.

Trent Loiero comes in for Kenny Bromwich, while Tyran Wishart will make his third NRL appearance form the bench for the depleted Storm.

Chris Lewis is set to earn his third game off the season off the bench.

For the Sharks winger Sione Katoa has been ruled out with Ronaldo Mulitalo switching wings and Mawene Hiroti coming onto the flank.

Second-rower Briton Nikora is also out due to Covid protocols with Cameron McInnes coming into the back row.

Braydon Trindall is the new face on the bench for the Sharks.

The Storm will be looking to keep in touch with the ladder leading Panthers while the Sharks are out to cement their top four spot with their fifth straight victory.

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