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Melbourne Storm thrash winless Sharks 36-18

Melbourne forward Tohu Harris has doubled his NRL career try-scoring tally as he led the Storm to a 36-18 over the hapless Cronulla at AAMI Park.

Harris had previously scored just two tries in two seasons but scored two more in the first half as the home side ran in six in an impressive performance across the park.

The defeat means Cronulla remains winless after three rounds while the Storm are back in the black following last round’s loss to Manly.

There were some questions about who would fill the role of second-row following the departure of Ryan Hoffman to the Warriors, with NZ Test forward Harris now the obvious answer.

The 23-year-old was second in his team in both tackles with 26 and run metres in a peerless display.

The Sharks started well but their defence proved flimsy as the game went on, with the Storm halves Cooper Cronk and Blake Green finding plenty of holes.

Harris opening the scoring when he barrelled over in the ninth minute with the Storm taking advantage of a failed 40/20 attempt by Wade Graham.

Cronk added their second 10 minutes later before Harris was in again for an 18-0 lead.

Harris’ second came just after Storm skipper Cameron Smith was back-slammed by David Fifita.

Play was set to continue before the video referees intervened and referee Gavin Badger placed the Sharks forward on report.

Sharks halfback Jeff Robson added a late try to close the deficit to 12 points at halftime.

The visitors then had to wait until the 63rd minute for their second, with young winger Valentine Holmes diving over in the corner.

By that stage the Storm had already scored a further three, with winger Marika Koroibete, Smith and centre Will Chambers all crossing to put the match out of reach.

Andrew Fifita gave the scoreline some respectability with a third Sharks try but there was little else to cheer about.

Meanwhile, a second half sin-binning of ex-Canberra bad boy Josh Dugan wasn’t enough to stop St George Illawarra pulling off a late 22-20 NRL win over the Raiders at GIO Stadium.

The Raiders were always wary of an ex-player costing them a win, but they never suspected it would end up being Joel Thompson who scored the match-winner.

Dugan’s decision to knock the ball out of Jarrod Croker’s hands as the Raiders’ captain was running back from the dead ball for a quick 20m restart proved to be a crucial turning point in a game that fulfilled the “two halves” cliche to perfection.

Having already reduced the deficit to eight points after being 18-0 down early, the Dragons were flying home with a wet sail.

But Dugan’s sin-binning in his 100th NRL match gave the Raiders a much-needed reprieve, and most of the 11,774 crowd were all too happy to jeer him off the field.

That showed just how much Raiders fans still feel betrayed by Dugan, who was sacked from the club in 2013 after a string of off-field offences – only to come back a year later and spearhead the Dragons to breaking a 14-year hoodoo in Canberra.

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