Infotainment Factory: Busted Sharks fall short as Storm march on

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Friday, 21 September 2018

Busted Sharks fall short as Storm march on


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In the end the body count for Cronulla got too high, with Paul Gallen, Wade Graham and Josh Dugan watching from the sidelines as a champion Storm side marched into their third straight grand final with a comprehensive 22-4 victory.

Melbourne have the luxury of an extra day's rest as they await their opponent for next Sunday's decider, but Craig Bellamy and his players will be preoccupied by one of the biggest decisions the NRL's match review committee will ever make.

It's a call that will determine whether Billy Slater's career gets one more week and the chance for a fairytale finish in yet another grand final or if heartbreak overshadows his retirement, with a suspension prematurely ending his career.

Right now it doesn't look good.

Speaking at half-time of Nine's coverage of the preliminary final, both Andrew Johns and Johnathan Thurston painted a bleak picture of Slater's hopes of lining up next week, with both reluctantly conceding his 13th minute try-saving hit on Sosaia Feki was a shoulder charge.

If that's the case it will almost certainly see him banned in circumstances that will bring back bad memories for Melbourne fans who recall the club's 2008 grand final loss at the hands of Manly, as banned Storm skipper Cameron Smith watched from the sidelines.

Lewis gets the Sharks on the board

That storyline is still to play out but for Luke Lewis there's no such uncertainty, with the champion back-rower and 2016 Clive Churchill Medallist finishing his career with a try in a losing cause.

Clearly playing hobbled, Lewis tried his heart out as always but the Sharks were up against it from Storm halfback Brodie Croft crossed for the first try of the match in the 19th minute.

By half-time Melbourne had added two more through a Slater double. All it took was for the famed purple wall to go up in the second half and the Storm would book themselves yet another grand final, with Lewis' late resistance not enough for a genuine comeback to start.

In the end the body count for Cronulla got too high, with Paul Gallen, Wade Graham and Josh Dugan watching from the sidelines as a champion Storm side marched into their third straight grand final with a comprehensive 22-4 victory.

Melbourne have the luxury of an extra day's rest as they await their opponent for next Sunday's decider, but Craig Bellamy and his players will be preoccupied by one of the biggest decisions the NRL's match review committee will ever make.

It's a call that will determine whether Billy Slater's career gets one more week and the chance for a fairytale finish in yet another grand final or if heartbreak overshadows his retirement, with a suspension prematurely ending his career.

Right now it doesn't look good.

Speaking at half-time of Nine's coverage of the preliminary final, both Andrew Johns and Johnathan Thurston painted a bleak picture of Slater's hopes of lining up next week, with both reluctantly conceding his 13th minute try-saving hit on Sosaia Feki was a shoulder charge.

If that's the case it will almost certainly see him banned in circumstances that will bring back bad memories for Melbourne fans who recall the club's 2008 grand final loss at the hands of Manly, as banned Storm skipper Cameron Smith watched from the sidelines.

Lewis gets the Sharks on the board

That storyline is still to play out but for Luke Lewis there's no such uncertainty, with the champion back-rower and 2016 Clive Churchill Medallist finishing his career with a try in a losing cause.

Clearly playing hobbled, Lewis tried his heart out as always but the Sharks were up against it from Storm halfback Brodie Croft crossed for the first try of the match in the 19th minute.

By half-time Melbourne had added two more through a Slater double. All it took was for the famed purple wall to go up in the second half and the Storm would book themselves yet another grand final, with Lewis' late resistance not enough for a genuine comeback to start.

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