Brisbanes injured list continues to grow as Tonie Carroll and David Stagg joined a host of other stars on the sideline during today's 30-16 win over Cronulla.
Makeshift five-eighth Tonie Carroll looked to have jarred his neck is an early second half collision with team-mate Dave Taylor, and later in the half centre David Stagg had his left leg trapped awkwardly under a tackle and seemed to sustain an ankle injury. Both players were assisted from the field and not sighted again, reducing Brisbane's interchange bench to two players.
Despite being reduced to 15, however, the Broncos were able to maintain their stranglehold on the game through an outstanding defensive effort that consisted of world class goal-line defense that was able to stay strong even when the Sharks had three consecutive sets on attack.
It was this strong defense that frustrated the Sharks, who were reduced to giving away silly penalties that only invited the Broncos downfield to take advantage of the Sharks weak goal-line defense with close range tries to Steve Michaels, Dane Carlaw, Corey Parker, and Greg Eastwood.
While those tries put the points on the board, this win can be chalked down to an impressive and relentless defensive effort from the Broncos that typified that of a team headed for finals footy.
Round 20 - Full Time :: July 29th, 2007 02:00 PM Venue: Suncorp Stadium Referee: Steve Clark
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks (16) Tries: Isaac De Gois (2), Adam Dykes Goals: Brett Seymour (2/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to sunny Brisbane for todays clash between the Brisbane Broncos and the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks.
A win for the Broncos today would help ensure they make this years finals series, whereas a victory to the Sharks would lift them to tenth on the ladder.
There are a number of changes to the teams named on Tuesday, and they are as such:
Broncos: David Stagg returns from injury and is straight into the centres in jersey number 20, with Darius Boyd moving to fullback, and Denan Kemp dropping out of the team. Shane Perry comes off the bench into halfback for the injured Michael Ennis. Nick Kenny drops off the extended bench, leaving the Broncos with interchanges of Dane Carlaw, Dave Taylor, Sam Thaiday, and Ian Lacey.
Sharks: Adam Dykes returns for the Sharks on the bench in jersey number 19. Eddie Su'a moves from the bench to the front row, Craig Stapleton goes to the back row, and Cameron Ciraldo goes back to the bench with Dayne Weston dropping out of the team.
Both teams are out on the field and kickoff is just moments away.
0 min: Steve Clark blows time on and Cronulla gets us underway!
2 min: PENALTY - Cronulla: Brad Thorn goes high on Eddie Su'a and Cronulla will get the first opportunity of the game.
3 min: Cronulla earn the repeat set via goal line dropout but can consider themselves lucky to have done so following a very poor 5th tackle option from Brett Seymour.
6 min: PENALTY - Brisbane: Brisbane get a penalty on halfway for Paul Gallen being inside the 10. Brisbane on attack 20 out.
7 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Brisbane try...
7 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Steve Michaels scores in the corner to grab the first points of the afternoon following some lovely long passing from Shane Perry and makeshift 5/8 Tonie Carroll. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful. Brisbane Broncos 6-0
9 min: PENALTY - Brisbane: Stapleton takes too long to get off Thorn and the Broncos will get another shot in the Sharks red zone.
10 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Corey Parker has just scored the easiest try of his career. Berrigan works a run-around play with Civoniceva in front of the posts and then passes to Parker, who changes his angle, runs straight through the defense and scores under the black dot. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful. Brisbane Broncos 12-0
15 min: PENALTY - Brisbane: Gallen goes high on Carroll, and Brisbane will get yet another shot at the Sharks line.
16 min: PENALTY - Cronulla: Thorn goes high on Fraser Anderson and Cronulla will get an easy ride out of their own territory.
18 min: Cronulla finally manage to put in a decent 5th tackle attacking kick to the in-goal, and come away with a goal line drop-out.
20 min: Cronulla get 3 sets back-to-back on the Broncos line, yet the Broncos defense refuses to crack.
22 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks Adam Dykes takes a lovely offload from Henry Perenara to finally split the Broncos and race downfield until he finds fresh on the field Isaac De Gois backing up to score the try and complete a 60 metre movement. Conversion attempt by Brett Seymour unsuccessful. Brisbane Broncos 12-4
25 min: PENALTY - Brisbane: Gallen finds himself inside the 10 yet again, and gets a bit of a lecture from referee Steve Clark.
26 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Shaun Berrigan takes advantage of a quick play-the-ball to race out of dummy half and pass short to Dane Carlaw who simply had too much speed and strength for the Sharks defense. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful. Brisbane Broncos 18-4
33 min: Exciting attacking football from the Sharks, but the Broncos defense is nothing short of outstanding, having just survived another three consecutive sets from the Sharks yet not leaking a single point.
38 min: PENALTY- Cronulla: Cronulla get a lucky break defending their goal-line with Stagg offside from a Berrigan grubber to the in-goal.
HALF TIME It's half time here at Suncorp Stadium in what has been an entertaining half of football filled with enterprising attack from both teams, but the highlight of the afternoon has been the Broncos goal-line defense, which is proving to be second-to-none and is absolutely refusing to crack, even when the Sharks string up to three consecutive sets together. Cronulla's goal line defense, however, has proved easier to crack, with all of the Broncos tries coming from within the 20 metre red zone. Cronulla's only points of the afternoon came from a long range effort that began with Adam Dykes breaking the line inside his own half and ended with Isaac De Gois touching down near the corner.
Cronulla are still in this match, but they're going to have to find some way to penetrate this resilient Broncos goal-line defense if they want any hope of winning today and making this years finals series.
40 min: Corey Parker gets the second half underway.
43 min: Cronulla had the first real opportunity of this second half, when Gallen went straight through the defense. Unfortunately there was no-one there in support and the Broncos shut the play down.
44 min: INJURY - Broncos: Tonie Carroll is down on the field after possibly jolting his neck in a collision with Dave Taylor. The medicab has been called out, but may not be needed as Carroll has just stood up and is being walking from the field.
45 min: PENALTY - Broncos: Three in the tackle and the ball is stripped, even though Dave Taylor looked to be carrying the ball losely.
46 min: PENALTY - Broncos: De Gois was all over the tackled Broncos player on the ground and just like that the Broncos have found themselves 60 metres downfield and attacking the Sharks line thanks to two consecutive penalties.
47 min: PENALTY - Cronulla: Cronulla finally get the ball back and get an easy ride downfield via a highshot on Covell from Nick Emmett.
48 min: CROWD - 24,563
49 min: PENALTY - Cronulla: Perry puts an attacking kick into the in goal, which is cleaned up by Simmons, who then looks to be trapped in-goal by Civoniceva, only to give away the penalty for inside the 10.
52 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks Following a quick play-the-ball 5 out from the line, De Gois dashes down the shortside, throws the dummy and dives over for his second of the afternoon. Conversion attempt by Brett Seymour successful. Brisbane Broncos 18-10
56 min: Fraser Anderson blows what looks to be a certain try for Cronulla by passing to Simmons when he should have held onto the ball.
57 min: INJURY - Broncos: David Stagg has been trapped awkwardly under a tackle and looks to have sustained damage to his left ankle.
57 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Cronulla try...
57 min: NO TRY - Play the ball: Pomeroy ruled to have been held up over the line. Cronulla get the ball back 10 metres out with 2 tackles up their sleeves.
58 min: PENALTY - Broncos: The ball is stripped with two in the tackle, and Clark marches the Sharks 10 after copping a gob full from Dykes.
60 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Broncos try...
60 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos After having a long, hard look at it, video referee Russell Smith has given Greg Eastwood the try on benefit of the doubt, following a mid-air contest for the ball between Covell and Frawley in which Frawley may or may not have knocked the ball on, with Smith having deemed he hasn't touched the ball. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful. Brisbane Broncos 24-10
64 min: Cronulla earn a 20 metre restart after Perry pushes a grubber dead in-goal. The Sharks will want to put something together real soon, as even with the injuries they've sustained, the Broncos have taken a firm strangle hold on this game.
66 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Following a lost ball on halfway from Cronulla, the Broncos work the ball away from the scrum and into Frawleys hands, at which point he just split the Cronulla defense in two and raced away to seal the win for the Broncos. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful. Brisbane Broncos 30-10
68 min: PENALTY - Cronulla: Cronulla attempt the short kick-off, and earn a penalty for Broncos being off-side.
69 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks Seems no-one told the Sharks that the Broncos had this one sewn up as Dykes dives in under the posts from dummy half. Conversion attempt by Brett Seymour successful. Brisbane Broncos 30-16
72 min: PENALTY - Brisbane: Ciraldo for some reason kicks the ball on the 4th tackle and Seymour gives away the penalty for being off-side from the kick.
74 min: PENALTY - Cronulla: Cronulla will get a chance to reduce the deficit following a penalty for holding down in the play-the-ball.
FULL TIME And it's full time here at Suncorp Stadium, with the Broncos building on their half time lead of 18-4 to run out winners 30-16. The Broncos now find themselves entrenched in the top 8, while todays loss makes 6 in a row for the Sharks and will have surely snuffed out any chance they had of making this years finals series.