NRL: Storm thrash Sharks

Melbourne's Cameron Smith in action during the NRL match between the Storm and the Cronulla Sharks in Melbourne on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images
Melbourne's Cameron Smith in action during the NRL match between the Storm and the Cronulla Sharks in Melbourne on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images

Scoring nine tries is enough to make any captain smile but Melbourne's Cameron Smith is more pleased with his team only conceding one in their 48-6 demolition of the Sharks.

The Storm put their NRL premiership campaign back on track at AAMI Park on Saturday night after a surprise loss to Newcastle in which they let a 10-point lead slip in the dying minutes.

Six tries in the opening half for a 30-0 lead against their injury-ravaged opponents reaffirmed their status as one of the competition's danger sides.

Smith said he sensed a change in attitude from his team at training this week and was pleased to see it transfer to the field.

"I was mostly pleased with our defence," Smith said. "The attitude was different and you could feel it before the game and that's where we let ourselves down last week, so it was good that the boys responded well."

Smith said there was no point in racking up points if their defence wasn't at its best.

"Defence is what wins big games and matches against good sides and we're playing three of them in our last three games in Penrith, Roosters and the Broncos and that's got to be our mindset."

While key trio Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk gave their opponents headaches all match, the Storm had plenty of other stars.

Prop Jesse Bromwich was almost unstoppable through the middle, making a game-high 207 metres. He collected a first-half try and then offloaded a silky pass for reserve forward Tim Glasby to open the scoring in the second half.

Centre Mahe Fonua also collected a double, showing his brute strength to carry four Sharks defenders across the line for his first.

The Sharks could have laid down after going into halftime with such a monster deficit but they toiled hard and promising young winger Valentine Holmes was rewarded with his first NRL try.

Cronulla coach James Shepherd said the poor start meant his team were never in the hunt, a disappointment after last round's close tussle with the Warriors.

"It was a poor performance from us, no doubt," Shepherd said. "On the back of what we did last week, we defended really well then, and that wasn't there tonight."

The win meant Melbourne moved up to fifth on the ladder, with the Panthers expected to present a far greater challenge in Penrith on Monday week.

The Sharks next host Canberra in a tussle that could help decide the wooden spoon.

- AAP

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