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Fulltime score: Round 7 Sharks 12 v Broncos 16
Match summary: Playing without Karmichael Hunt, Tonie Carroll and Petro Civoniceva, the Brisbane Broncos have come from behind to post an inspired 16-12 win over the Sharks at Toyota Park tonight.
The Sharks were dominating play when winger David Simmons scored following some tremendous lead up work from full back David Peachey.
The Sharks continued controlling the ruck and to half back Brett Kimmorley scored a sensational team try following a series of offloads.
After 20 minutes, the Sharks in front 12-0 and the Toyota Park crowd had plenty to cheer about. But it would be last time the home side would trouble the score board.
Following a controversial no-try, where Sharks? centre Nigel Vagana would be denied by the video ref, the Broncos seemed to gain some momentum. They were rewarded with a try to Shaun Berrigan in the 33rd minute and half time, the Sharks held a 12-6 lead.
The Sharks however had every reason to feel confident. With the Broncos looking more fatigued, it appeared to be a matter of time before their line would be breached.
But in an ironic twist, the oldest player in the NRL, 36-year-old veteran Darren Smith, dived over to put the Broncos back in charge. With 25 minutes to go, the scores were locked up at 12-all.
In the 57th minute, an incorrect decision from referee Paul Simpkins to penalise the Sharks rather than rule a knock-on against the Broncos drew a strong reaction from the vocal crowd. However, the penalty attempt from Darren Lockyer was pushed wide and the scores remained at 12-all.
With both sets of forwards putting their bodies on the line, injuries started to mount. In the 64th minute, Broncos front rower Brad Thorn made a desperate charge for the line, proving too strong for the tiring defence and with just 15 minutes to go, the Broncos had hit the front for the first time.
With emotions running high in the back-end of the match, he Sharks had their opportunities. But as the error count went up, they found it difficult to mount any sustained pressure. With the clock ticking down, the Bronco?s line held firm and in the end, it was their end-game defence which paved the way to a gutsy win.
The Broncos win may have come at a cost with Brent Tate [pictured] being forced off with a shoulder injury late in the match.
Scorers: SHARKS 12 Tries: Simmons, Kimmorley Goals: Covell 2/3 BRONCOS 16 Tries: S Berrigan, Smith, Thorn Goals: Lockyer 2/4
Toyota Park Referee: Paul Simpkins
By the clock: 0 min: Broncos missing a number of personnel including Karmichael Hunt, Tonie Carroll and Petro Civoniceva. Darren Smith is playing. Sharks will start warm favourites. Match is underway with the Broncos kicking off.
10 min: Still 0-0. Broncos have the better of the field position early on, their forwards coiming up quick. Sharks holding their line well.
15 min: TRY - Sharks. David Simmons scores in the corner on the back of some great lead-up work from David Peachey who palmed off defenders out wide. Conversion from Luke Covell is a ripper. Sharks 6-0
20 min: TRY - Sharks. Kimmorley scores. Follows a series of sensational offloads, great team try and near impossible to defend against. Conversion right in front is OK. Sharks 12-0
26 min: Waiting for video ref... possible try to the Sharks. NO TRY - Nigel Vagana denied after been ruled not have grounded the ball. Followed a great offload from Phillip Leulaui. Game back on with the Sharks now enjoying 60% possession.
33 min: TRY - Broncos. Shaun Berrigan scores after being set up brilliantly by Darren Lockyer. Follows a couple of errors from the Sharks including Greg Bird being penalised for a ball strip. Difficult conversion from Lockyer is a beauty. Sharks 12-6
HALF TIME: Sharks 12-6 Broncos came out firing early but the Sharks stepped up a gear and for a the majority of the half were dictating play. In the last 10 minutes of the half however, the Sharks made a few errors and the Broncos were able to strike back to show us that they're far from done with. Overall, the Sharks appear to be the fresher of the two teams; a number of Broncos not looking 100% after being forced to do a lot of tackling. In particular, five eighth Darren Lockyer doing a lot of defence amongst the forwards. Up front, Danny Nutley and Paul Gallen are working up a storm for the Sharks while David Stagg is leading the workload in defence for the Broncos. Possession has evened up a little with the Sharks still enjoying the greater part at around 54-55%.
Second half underway...
47 min: NEWS - Sharks' Luke Covell misses a penalty goal after it hits the uprights. Follows back-to-back sets for the Sharks but the Broncos now have the pill and are off the hook.
53 min: TRY - Broncos. Darren Smith the 36-year-old veteran scores. Not an easy shot at conversion from Lockyer but... its long enough, high enough, and its straight between the posts! Game on! 12-all
57 min: NEWS - A huge run from Darren Lockyer and Brent Tate takes play 80 metres upfield before we're treated to a try saving tackle from David Simmons. What follows is dodgy ruling against the Sharks and a penalty to the Broncos. Lockyer aims up for a shot at penalty goal but justice prevails and the attempt is unsuccessful. After all that, its still 12-all.
62 min: NEWS - Broncos bench player Sam Thaiday comes off with what could an injured AC joint.
64 min: TRY - Broncos. Brad Thorn crashes over and the Broncos hit the front for the first time. Conversion Lockyer unsuccessful. Broncos 16-12
67 min: NEWS - Plenty of injuries as trainers run on the field. Kimmorley is down but seems OK for the Sharks. Broncos' back Brent Tate looks in all sort of grief and will come off, possible dislocated shoulder. Broncos are running out of troops.
73 min: NEWS - Broncos forced into a line drop out. Both sides looking exhausted but the Broncos in particular look out on their feet. Sharks need to complete their sets as they seem to be battling to mount any real pressure with the Broncos' defence now being a feature of the match. Handling errors creeping in from both sides.
77 min: Still 16-12 to the Broncos. Sharks have the ball deep in their own half.
79 min: Still 16-12. Sharks have the ball and 90 metres from the Broncos line. Sharks lose possession. Looks like Brisbane have the match.
FULL TIME: In a no frills but inspired effort, the Broncos have defeated the Sharks 16-12 tonight, keeping the home side scoreless in the second half
By full time, possession had was close enough to evens. Penalties favoured the Sharks 9-5.
Overall, a great defensive effort from the Broncos who were short on numbers, but came back in the second half to score a gutsy win.
For the Sharks, Danny Nutley and Paul Gallen were absolute stand outs in both defence and metres gained. For the Broncos, David Stagg and Brad Thorn were the best of the forwards, Stagg topping the tackle count. Backing up from last night's Test match, Darren Lockyer had to do plenty of worked all night to lead his side around.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - D Stagg (Broncos) 2 - D Nutley (Sharks) 1 - D Lockyer (Broncos) -----------------------------------------