The scoreline was tight and the game was tough but Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said the 12-10 NRL win over Cronulla wasn't the same in the absence of a parochial crowd.
The Sharks led 4-2 at halftime and Saturday night's game didn't come alive until the final 20 minutes, when the Storm came from behind at an empty Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Sydney.
Typically, Sharks fans would have been fanatical in trying to get their team home in a tight game and, despite the result, Bellamy missed hearing it.
"I think for both teams, it lacked a little bit of venom or a bit of fire that's usually in there," he said of the rivalry, which peaked in the 2016 Grand Final.
"Having said that, teams change too. We've had a lot of players go out of our side and the Sharks have had a few players move on or retire. Sometimes that rivalry, for a little while now, might ease off a little bit but certainly when there's no crowd there.
"I remember at Shark Park a few years ago when Cameron got (sin)binned, that was ... if anyone was asleep, it would have woken them up. I think you could have dozed off tonight, probably.
"As we get used to it, it's going to go on for a while with no crowd so, as teams get used to it, I think the spectacle will be better."
A converted Tui Kamikamica try next to the posts in the 71st minute levelled the scores at 10-10 to set up a tense finish at Cronulla's temporary home ground in Kogarah.
And with just four minutes on the clock, talented Sharks utility Billy Magoulias gave away a penalty and Cameron Smith calmly kicked between the sticks for the Storm to remain unbeaten from two games this season.
Both teams had slotted two penalty goals before Magoulias broke the game open after a dogfight throughout the first 60 minutes.
Harking back to the traditional arm-wrestle battles between the two clubs, scores were locked at 4-4 when Sharks fullback Will Kennedy found some space around the ruck and made a break through the middle.
Kennedy was brought down within metres of the Storm's line and, in the next play, dummy-half Blayke Brailey's grubber kick found Magoulias next to the posts for the opening try.
It was also the first try the Storm had conceded this season after holding out Manly at Lottoland in Round 1.
"It hurts. It really hurts, that one," Sharks coach John Morris said.
"That's two weeks in a row now we've scored the same amount of tries as our opposition and got beat on penalty goals.
"I felt we'd done enough to win both of the games."
Cronulla are 0-2 for the season after the final game in Sharks' colours for Josh Morris, who joins twin Brett on Monday at the Sydney Roosters.
Cronulla skipper Wade Graham went up the tunnel with a foot issue late in the game, but out of precaution.
The Sharks will play Newcastle in Round 3, while the Storm host another unbeaten side in Penrith at AAMI Park.