Brendan Wood reviews the Brisbane Broncos 16-7 upset win over the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks on Thursday night.
Brisbane Broncos 16
Tries: Kotoni Staggs (35), Herbie Farnworth (44), Kurt Capewell (49)
Goals: Kotoni Staggs (36), Adam Reynolds (50)
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 7
Tries: Matt Moylan (20)
Goals: Nicho Hynes (21)
Field Goals: Nicho Hynes (40)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
All eyes were on the mouth-watering matchup of Kotoni Staggs and Siosifa Talakai in the early exchanges. Staggs was on his game in defence and gave Talakai no room to do damage.
Both sides took some time to adjust to the game and find their attacking fluidity. The opening 20 minutes saw no points scored with neither side able to gain the ascendancy.
Eventually, it was the Sharks who drew first blood. Matt Moylan showed some finesse with the boot as he grubbered and regathered his own kick in the in-goal to score.
Despite hitting the lead, the Sharks were sloppy with possession and failed to complete their attacking sets, giving the Broncos a path back into the game.
When the home side did get the ball in attack, they failed to combine well and produced some errors of their own to let the Sharks off the hook. Defending with their backs against the wall, the Broncos lost halfback Adam Reynolds when he was forced from the field after copping an accidental elbow to the face.
In the next set, the Broncos finally got some fortune with a seven-tackle set. Off the back of this, they scored their first points. They got the ball to their strike centre Kotoni Staggs, who dummied inside and fended away from Ronaldo Mulitalo to score in the corner.
As the halftime siren sounded, Nicho Hynes kicked a field goal to give the Sharks a one-point edge at the break.
HALF-TIME: Brisbane Broncos 6 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 7Embed from Getty Images
It was good news for the Broncos to start the second half with Adam Reynolds passing his HIA. The return of their halfback saw the Broncos open the scoring after halftime. They moved the ball to the left and Tyson Gamble passed to Herbie Farnworth who crashed over for a try from short range.
In the following set, a 50-metre run from Corey Oates gave the Broncos the platform to score their second try of the half. They went left again, and this time Kurt Capewell brushed away from a tackle and reached out to plant the ball on the line.
The floodgates had opened for the Broncos as they cut the Sharks to shreds down the left. Herbie Farnworth made another 50-metre break to get the home side back on the attack. This time they ran out of steam trying to complete their set as they let the Sharks off the hook with an error.
Following another strong set from the Broncos, Payne Haas left the field in some discomfort with the shoulder injury he picked up last week. Even with Haas off the field, the Broncos looked solid in defence.
A period of back and forth exchanges came next as the Broncos looked to drive home their advantage. As the time ticked away the Sharks grew more and more impatient. They threw plenty of attack at the Broncos, but they were turned away with each raid by more staunch defence.
Inside the final five minutes, it was more of the same from the Sharks. They tried to force their way back into the game but fell flat as they continued to produce errors under fatigue.
The Broncos kept the defensive pressure high right up to the fulltime siren. They held the Sharks scoreless in the second half to record an impressive upset win.
FULL-TIME: Brisbane Broncos 16 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 7
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Herbie Farnworth (Brisbane Broncos), 2 pts – Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane Broncos), 1 pt – Kurt Capewell (Brisbane Broncos)
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