4 Sep 2016

Melbourne win Minor Premiership

6:32 am on 4 September 2016

The Melbourne Storm have clinched the National Rugby League's Minor Premiership with a 26-6 home win over the Cronulla Sharks.

It's the first time Melbourne's finished on top at the end of the regular season since 2011.

The Melbourne Storm with the 2016 JJ Giltinan Shield

The Melbourne Storm with the 2016 JJ Giltinan Shield Photo: NRL.com

Melbourne finished on 42 points with 19 wins.

The Storm have finished on top of the ladder five times, however their titles from 2006-08 were stripped for salary cap breaches.

They now host defending champions North Queensland next weekend in a qualifying final, after the Cowboys sealed a top-four finish with a hard-fought 32-16 win over Gold Coast in Townsville.

That's left the Titans' finals hopes in the balance - Jarryd Hayne and his new team are eighth and now need the Canberra Raiders to beat Wests Tigers in Sydney on Sunday afternoon, if they're to make the playoffs.

Dragons keep Knights to one NRL win

Luckless Newcastle's record NRL losing streak will carry over into next season - they bowed out with their 18th straight loss, controversially going down 28-26 to St George Illawarra.

In a game in which the captain's challenge system was trialled but not used and former Kiwis captain Benji Marshall bowed out of the Dragons with a win, an 80th-minute penalty goal by Gareth Widdop gave the home side their 10th win of the year at Kogarah Oval.

But the call to award the penalty by referee Henry Perenara for interference in the play-the-ball by retiring Newcastle and Kiwis forward Jeremy Smith appeared harsh.

"He dropped it on my foot and I was just getting up. That's the story of our year," Smith said.

Newcastle are now the first side since 1993 to win just one game in a season.