Cronulla have climbed to third on the NRL ladder, after a tense 11-2 victory over the Melbourne Storm at a wet AAMI Park.

The defending premiers relied on tough defence to outlast the Storm in a rematch of the 2016 Grand Final, played in the tricky conditions.

The Sharks let an error-prone Melbourne off the hook in the opening half, by failing to capitalise on several scoring opportunities, but finished over the top of the home side, with 11 unanswered points in the second half.

James Maloney kicked a field goal in the 70th minute to break a two-all deadlock, before James Segeyaro swooped on a kick that was mishandled by Billy Slater to touch down under the posts and seal the result.

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The Sharks have now won three straight matches, ending the Storm's unbeaten opening to the season in the process.

The visitors handled the slippery conditions better than the hosts in the opening 10 minutes, with the Storm coughing up possession three times in the Sharks' half.

A Melbourne handling error close to their own line looked to gift the Sharks the opening try, but the play was called back for a differential penalty against Cronulla at the scrum.

It took some Cooper Cronk brilliance to set up Melbourne's first scoring opportunity, with a 40-20 putting the Storm deep in Sharks territory. A high tackle from James Maloney on Billy Slater subsequently allowed Cameron Smith to kick the opening points of the match.

A Suliasi Vunivalu error near the Storm line then handed Cronulla another golden opportunity to score, but Jack Bird's final pass to Gerard Beale floated forward, with the winger on a clear path to the line.

The Storm made a strong opening to the second half, with Slater's long run and a spilt high ball from Valentine Holmes putting the Sharks on the back foot. Gritty defence from the Sharks held out the home side and another error from the Storm allowed Maloney to level the scores with a penalty goal in the 56th minute.

The Storm pressured the Sharks line, but could not find the target with their kicking game, allowing the Sharks to claim victory in the final 10 minutes.