Sharks must keep party going against Storm

Scott Bailey |

Craig Fitzgibbon will urge Cronulla to keep their free-spirited approach in Saturday’s blockbuster against Melbourne after claiming their best start to a season in 15 years.

The Sharks showed again why they loom as one of the best attacking outfits this season on Sunday, making light work of Wests Tigers with a 30-6 flogging at Pointsbet Stadium.

After five rounds, Cronulla have claimed a 4-1 record for the first time since 2008 and will finish the round in second position on the ladder.

Their 121 points scored in the first five rounds is the best in any season for the club since way back in 2005.

Impressively, they have done it in a year where point-scoring has somewhat come back to the field, with the Sharks one of the few teams to be going at a better rate than last year.

But they also know the Storm will shape as a litmus test, after claiming wins over Parramatta, St George Illawarra, Newcastle and the Tigers.

And while Fitzgibbon wants his side to be more clinical than the one that completed at just 67 per cent on Sunday, he doesn’t want them to go back into their shell.

“It will be an issue for sure (against Melbourne). We will address that during the week,” Fitzgibbon said. 

“But alternatively you have to ask questions of a Melbourne’s defence. 

“You don’t just tuck it under your wing and hope for the best. We’ll have to work hard and get the balance right.”

Cronulla’s attacking success can largely be put down to the way the fit-again Matt Moylan and former Storm star Nicho Hynes have gelled in the halves.

The pair regularly linked up again on Sunday, and while there were errors their ability to play both sides of the ruck provided a serious threat to the Tigers.

“They are both free spirits the way they play,” Fitzgibbon said. 

“And both are running players, so it just made sense to let them go wherever they want to go.”

“I’m happy for (Matt) because he has invested in himself and worked really hard.

“Obviously a highly talented player who has had a wretched run for the past four years. But what he has done is invest in himself.”