The Broncos have now won six in a row against the Sharks.
To conclude the final bye round of the season, the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks hosted the Brisbane Broncos at PointsBet Stadium. An important game for both clubs as the Sharks look to continue their push for finals footy and the Broncos needing to turn their form around as they look to push for finals.
The Broncos were the first on the scoresheet as debutant Xavier Coates scored in just the seventh minute after a spectacular catch from a Jake Turpin kick. It didn’t take long for the Sharks to bounce back as Josh Dugan opened their scoring as Shaun Johnson, Chad Townsend and Matt Moylan linked up on the right edge. Four minutes later, Chad Townsend put the Sharks up 8-6 as he scored from his own grubber kick after multiple unsuccessful attempts at putting the ball down from Brisbane. Forward Tevita Pangai Junior put the Broncos ahead with a converted try in the 30th minute and gave the young side a 12-8 lead heading into the break.
Josh Morris scored after just four minutes of the second half and the conversion was again missed by Kyle Flanagan who had kicked 0/3. The veteran centre added two tries in the 50th and 54th minute to complete the hat-trick and give his home side a 22-12 lead with 25 minutes remaining. Youngster Payne Haas replied in the 59th minute and brought the game to within four points of the Broncos. It wasn’t until the 74th minute that the Broncos took back the lead as Jake Turpin scored after being on the receiving end of a brilliant offload from Pangai Jr. The kick was converted and it saw the Broncos win 24-22.
Broncos’ unbeaten run
The Broncos came into tonight’s clash having not lost to the Sharks since Round 9, 2016. The baby Broncos had won five games in a row and extended that to six wins after tonight’s victory. They have also won six of their last seven fixtures against Cronulla. Brisbane were aided by Kyle Flanagan thanks to his woeful night with the boot, kicking 1/5 attempts.
Josh Morris magic
It only took Josh Morris ten minutes to cross the line three times tonight to score his sixth hat-trick in the NRL. It was the veteran centre’s first hat-trick in seven years and his first for his new club. He also led the Sharks in run metres tonight with 187, which included two line breaks.
Matt Moylan the key?
Matt Moylan seems to be the most dangerous of the Sharks players when the ball is in his hands, whether that be looking for an opportunity for himself or for his teammates with his crisp passing. Before he went off injured tonight he backed this up. The fullback had a line break assist and two try assists in his 58-minute effort. Despite the effectiveness of Moylan, the Sharks still look clunky in attack and have struggled to hit top form since Shaun Johnson’s return.
Brisbane front row leading the charge
The Broncos’ starting front rowers Matthew Lodge and Payne Haas both had monster nights, combining for a try, 375 run metres and 56 tackles in the combined 123 minutes they played. Payne Haas (Origin debutant in Game I) and Matthew Lodge (who has been in contention for a spot in Fittler’s side) have both been very important for Brisbane. They are going to have to keep performing to help guide the Broncos into the top eight.
Cronulla Sharks 22
Tries: Josh Morris (3), Josh Dugan, Chad Townsend
Goals: Kyle Flanagan 1/5
Drop Goals: n/a
Brisbane Broncos 24
Tries: Xavier Coates, Tevita Pangai Jr, Payne Haas, Jake Turpin
Goals: Kotoni Staggs 4/4
Drop Goals: n/a
Cronulla Sharks: 1. Matt Moylan 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Bronson Xerri 4. Josh Morris 5. Josh Dugan 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Aaron Woods 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Briton Nikora 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Paul Gallen. Interchange: 14. Kyle Flanagan 15. Jayson Bukuya 16. Jack Williams 17. Braden Hamlin-Uele
Brisbane Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Herbie Farnworth 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Xavier Coates 6. Jake Turpin 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Payne Haas 11. Alex Glenn 12. Tevita Pangai Junior 13. Thomas Flegler. Interchange: 14. James Segeyaro 15. Rhys Kennedy 17. Patrick Carrigan 18. Keenan Palasia