Jack Harbidge reviews the Round 12 clash between the Brisbane Broncos and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Suncorp Stadium. Here’s how the game went.
|6th||Try Ronaldo Mulitalo (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 4-0|
|8th||Goal Shaun Johnson (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 6-0|
|18th||Try Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane)||Cronulla-Sutherland 6-4|
|24th||Try Siosifa Talakai (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 10-4|
|26th||Goal Shaun Johnson (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 12-4|
|32nd||Try Rhys Kennedy (Brisbane)||Cronulla-Sutherland 12-8|
|33rd||Goal Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane)||Cronulla-Sutherland 12-10|
|36th||Try Richard Kennar (Brisbane)||Brisbane 14-12|
|39th||Try Jackson Ferris (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 16-14|
|40th||Goal Shaun Johnson (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 18-14|
|49th||Try Richard Kennar (Brisbane)||Draw 18-18|
|51st||Goal Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane)||Brisbane 20-18|
|55th||Try Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane)||Brisbane 24-18|
|57th||Goal Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane)||Brisbane 26-18|
|70th||Try Sione Katoa (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Brisbane 26-22|
|72nd||Goal Shaun Johnson (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Brisbane 26-24|
|74th||Try Connor Tracey (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 28-26|
|76th||Goal Shaun Johnson (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 30-26|
|77th||Try Braden Hamlin-Uele (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 34-26|
|79th||Goal Shaun Johnson (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 36-26|
The first half kicked off with new-look outfits from both teams due to injuries, with the Suncorp crowd being treated to Darius Boyd starting in the No.1 jersey against a Cronulla side missing Josh Dugan and Jesse Ramien. The crowd certainly weren’t disappointed with an action-packed half, in which the scoring start early with Ronaldo Mulitalo going over from long range off the back of a Brisbane mistake just six minutes in. The Broncos pressed on however, and Darius Boyd produced a clinical pass for Kotoni Staggs to dissect the Cronulla centres close to the line and go over to cut the lead part way through the half.
Cronulla looked to extend their lead through the second part of the half, and did so through Siosifa Talakai crashing over from close range. Both teams stuck in the arm wrestle and provided a flurry of scores in the final 10 minutes of the half. The first of which came from Brisbane, with Rhys Kennedy scoring his first try in first grade to cut the lead to two points after a Staggs conversion. The Broncos continued to press Cronulla and capitalised through Richard Kennar, taking the lead with just under three minutes of the half left. The lead didn’t last long however, with Cronulla putting on an expansive shape down the right edge for Jackson Ferris to produce an impressive finish and put the Sharks in the lead going into the sheds at half time.
The second half began in stark contrast to how the first ended, with both teams locked up in a battle for the early parts – with Cronulla in the ascendancy for the majority of the opening 10 minutes. Cronulla’s pressure didn’t pay off however, with Brisbane holding the Sharks out in multiple repeat sets on their own line and then marching up the field through a Herbie Farnworth break to score with a shape down their left edge. Staggs’ conversion put Brisbane back in the lead and the Broncos continued to press on for another score. Indeed, it was Staggs again who put the Broncos further in the lead with a good finish off the back of a shape down their right edge.
With Brisbane looking comfortably in the lead just 10 minutes from time, Cronulla mounted a comeback and (in typical style this season) Brisbane began to fold, conceding a try from Sione Katoa to cut their lead to two points. Cronulla continued to apply the pressure and Mulitalo tore the Brisbane defence up again to set Connor Tracey up with a try from a kick infield and all but seal the game for Cronulla. Clutching at straws, Brisbane employed a short kick-off in an attempt to regain the ascendancy but couldn’t regain the ball and offered the Sharks another opportunity to ice the match. The Sharks obliged and Braden Hamlin-Uele took advantage of some soft defence to get over from short range.
With Cronulla in the ascendancy in the opening stages of the first half, Ronaldo Mulitalo looked to have the space to stroll over off the back of repeat sets on the Brisbane line. Kotoni Staggs – seemingly the most enthused player in the Brisbane team – produced an amazing cover tackle to stop the try. The tackle flipped the momentum and put Brisbane in the driving seat to go 26-18 up in the following 20 minutes; it was emblematic of Staggs’ performance in attack and doggedness in defence all game. Unfortunately, his stand-out performance alone couldn’t save a hapless Broncos effort down the track.
Brisbane Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd, 2. Richard Kennar, 3. Kotoni Staggs, 4. Herbie Farnworth, 5. Xavier Coates, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Tom Dearden, 8. Thomas Flegler, 9. Jake Turpin, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Joe Ofahengaue, 12. Tevita Pangai Junior, 13. Patrick Carrigan. Interchange: 14. Issac Luke, 15. Rhys Kennedy, 16. Ethan Bullemor, 17. Ben Te’o.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy, 2. Sione Katoa, 14. Siosifa Talakai, 20. Jackson Ferris, 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo, 6. Shaun Johnson, 19. Braydon Trindall , 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele, 9. Blayke Brailey, 10. Aaron Woods, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Wade Graham, 15. Jack Williams. Interchange: 7. Connor Tracey, 13. Toby Rudolf, 16. Teig Wilton, 17. Royce Hunt.