NRL Round 8: Brisbane Broncos upset victory over Cronulla Sharks

The Broncos have temporarily broken into the top eight following a gritty victory over Cronulla at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday.

The Broncos have temporarily broken into the top eight following a gritty 16-7 victory over the Cronulla Sharks at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Thursday evening.

Kevin Walters’ men put together a defensive masterclass in front of 16,740 spectators, keeping the Sharks pointless in the second half of their Round 8 clash.

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The Sharks, who are fifth on the NRL ladder after a blistering start to their 2022 campaign, got Thursday’s contest off to a flyer with five-eighth Matt Moylan diving over in the 19th minute to take an early lead.

Broncos halfback Adam Reynolds required a HIA after copping a stray elbow to the head from Sharks fullback Will Kennedy in the 34th minute, resulting in a heavily bloodied nose.

Both sides were plagued by unforced errors in the first half, with several attacking chances botched early in the match.

But five minutes before the halftime interval, Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs steamed around Cronulla’s defensive line following a dummy on rival Siosifa Talaka, fending away Ronaldo Mulitali and scoring near the corner post.

“The unstoppable Siasifa Talakai found his kryptonite tonight in the shape of Kotoni Staggs,” Fox League commentator Warren Smith said.

Sharks captain Nicholas Hynes booted a long-range field goal in the 40th minute to give the visitors a one-point lead at halftime, but it was all one-way traffic when the players returned from the sheds.

Broncos centre Herbie Farnworth scored moments after the second half got underway, with teammate Kurt Capewell extending Brisbane’s lead a few minutes later.

Cronulla desperately searched for a second four-pointer to mount an unlikely comeback, but Brisbane’s ferocious defensive, highlighted by a clutch trysaver from teen winger Selwyn Cobbo in the final minutes, kept the Sharks at bay until the final siren.

“It was a bit of a flat performance from us,” Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon told reporters at the post-match press conference.

“The first half was a good half and we were both ready to play there. In the first half we were doing well and defensive energy was high.

“We weren’t executing as we had been in previous weeks, but we were still at it defensively.

“They defended really well, but we were a bit off in our intent and timing with the ball.

“But that is going to happen from time to time and you would like to be able to roll the sleeves up and find a way back and get back into the grind, but we need to execute better than that tonight.”

Hynes continued: “Yeah it was not good enough.

“We had no energy and we were on the back foot and I just wasn’t working to the game plan the way we should have been.

“I will put my hand up there it was just not good enough.

“It is always a lesson. Everything is a lesson and you learn from it and go to training and get better.

“But it is no excuse. Just because I have only played a couple of games here in the halves it doesn’t mean I can toss up that. I’ve just got to go get better.”

The Broncos have undeniably delivered a timely message to the rest of the competition — they are finals contenders this year.

Meanwhile, Broncos prop Payne Haas left the field in the 55th minute of Thursday’s contest after triggering an existing shoulder injury.

Brisbane will next face the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Accor Stadium on Thursday, May 5, with kick-off scheduled for 7.50pm AEST.

Originally published as Brisbane Broncos pull off upset victory over Cronulla Sharks

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