Cronulla showed they never need Paul Gallen and Todd Carney to impress as they ended an eight-year Suncorp Stadium drought with a 26-twelve NRL victory above Brisbane on Friday evening.
Wade Graham, playing in Gallen’s No.13 jersey, starred for the Sharks as he set up a 16- lead in as several minutes at the start off of a topsy-turvy and often spiteful clash.
Utility Graham scored one particular consider, set up two other folks and menaced the Broncos in defence but completed the night on report for a controversial shoulder charge on Josh Hoffman.
Carney’s five-eighth replacement Chad Townsend also carried out strongly and kicked superbly for two tries as Brisbane’s undermanned pack, missing six Queensland Origin forwards, was dominated early.
But it was a 90m intercept to winger Nathan Stapleton which in the end settled the end result midway via the 2nd half after the Broncos launched a gutsy comeback to have all the operating at 16-twelve down.
An Alex Glenn try out from a unusual tight-head scrum win had provided the house side the momentum in front of 26,268 parochial fans, and they continued to hammer the Sharks line.
But Brisbane halfback Peter Wallace, in a game he’d instead neglect, threw an ill-advised cut-out pass that Stapleton plucked out of the air for an unimpeded run to the line.
Colin Finest crossed for two tries and Ben Pomeroy also bagged a four-pointer in the five tries to two victory to move the Sharks to 3rd previous the Broncos on the ladder.
Rubbing salt into the Broncos’ wounds, centre Jack Reed (quad) and fullback Hoffman (head knock) completed with injury worries immediately after failing to play any part in the second half.
The Sharks had lost their past 5 matches against the Broncos by an typical margin of 22 factors and tasted victory just once in twelve trips to Suncorp Stadium but they commenced on fire and took the house side by shock.
The corresponding match final year saw the Broncos jump to a 20- lead immediately after 20 minutes and for 5 seconds the Sharks had the same advantage midway through the initial half.
Hoffman suffered his head knock when Graham pulled off a huge in-objective tackle which saw the ball jolted free and pounced on by rival fullback Matthew Wright.
Referee Gavin Badger instantly awarded a consider just before calling for a video critique which saw Graham penalised for his shoulder striking Hoffman’s head and the try out disallowed.
With a groggy Hoffman replaced soon immediately after, youngster Aaron Whitchurch began the fightback when he scored in his NRL debut in the 32nd minute.
Sharks captain Jeremy Smith was also positioned on report for striking Brendan Gibb.
There are fears Reed, who was pushed off by Ben Pomeroy for the Sharks’ third attempt, may possibly have fractured his fibula and will undergo X-rays.
In a brutal clash despite the absence of Origin players, Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan was upset by the choices to place back-rowers Graham and Smith on report when neither deliberately attacked the head.
Flanagan said Hoffman was just a victim of an accidental head clash with Graham whilst Smith was trying to shield himself from Gibb.
“No 1 needs to see anyone get injured but for me I thought it was a truly good shot,” he stated. “Wade went in there with the intent to place a good shot on him and no intent to hit him in the head.
“I just imagined it was a very good tackle, and Jeremy was put on report as effectively.
“He’s dived on a loose ball and put his arm up to protect himself.
“We’re making an attempt to soften the game up. That is happened forever and a day. There was no intent in that either.”
Broncos skipper Glenn stated he was devastated to see Brisbane’s fightback undone by a single poor pass from Wallace.
“It was a bit heart-breaking,” he mentioned. “We had a lot of momentum and self-assurance before that intercept.”
Even though Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough got by means of a mountain of perform and finished the match with 61 tackles, coach Anthony Griffin was disappointed in regular halves Wallace and Corey Norman.
“The panic came from the guys you imagined wouldn’t panic tonight – Wal and Corey took a few wrong possibilities with the footy,” Griffin stated.