The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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A picture says a thousand words. In this case it was the Cronulla Sharks and their fans embracing as they overcame the Brisbane Broncos 30 to 22 at Suncorp Stadium this afternoon. The game didn?t go all the Sharks way however as the Broncos forwards dominated their less fancied counterparts in the early stages, leading 12-nil after just 12 minutes. As the game went on, the Cronulla side grew in confidence throwing the ball around and making metres through the middle of the ruck.
With the Broncos forwards growing tired, Cronulla scored two tries to leave the field at halftime trailing by 16-8. The second half was a different story with the match at full pace as both sides indicated they were up to the challenge, defending well and matching it up through the middle of the field. The last 16 minutes was a feeding frenzy for the Sharks showing that they can play as a team, scoring three well worked tries as the Broncos buckled under the pressure and fatigue.
Cronulla now go into the top eight with the added confidence this game brings them. It doesn?t get any easier for the Broncos as Brent Tate and Shaun Berrigan succumbed to injuries with the second Origin match only ten days away.
BRONCOS 22 Tries: Frawley, Carroll, Civoniceva Goals: DeVere 5/5 defeated by SHARKS 30 Tries: Isemonger 2, Peachey, Simmons McGoldrick, Merritt Goals: Kimmorley 3/6
By the clock: Bad news for Broncos & Sharks fan as key figures Gorden Tallis & Paul Gallen are both out of the match due to injury. Stand in Captain Darren Lockyer will make his comeback from injury.
0 min: Sharks kickoff
6 min: Try - Broncos: Lockyer puts in a grubber, David Peachey fumbles it straight into the hands of Craig Frawley for a gift four pointer. DeVere converts. 6-0 Broncos
10 min: News - The Broncos forwards are already put their stamp on this match with some brutal defence and good go forward
12 min: Try - Broncos: Casey McGuire throws a pass to Tonie Carroll who runs through a gaping hole to score. DeVere converts. 12-0 Broncos
18 min: News - The Sharks make the best of their first real taste of possesion in Brisbanes half but a forward pass to David Peachey lets them down inches from the try line.
21 min: Try - Sharks: After some excellent work by the Sharks through the middle of the rucks Brett Kimmorley puts up a superb bomb, it's battered back into the hands to David Peachey to put the Sharks back into the game. Kimmorley's kick goes wide. 12-4 Broncos
25 min: News - The Sharks have looked good passing it out wide with some space to run at but their forwards havent matched it up with Brisbane's engine machine through the middle of the field.
30 min: Try - Sharks: Some lovely lead up work by the Sharks eventuates with David Peachey setting up David Simmons for a four pointer. Kimmorley's kick goes wide. 12-8 Broncos
34 min: Penalty Goal: Following a penalty Michael DeVere slots a goal 15 metres out. 14-8 Broncos
36 min: News - Cronulla are moving the ball alot more putting in plenty of chinks into the Broncos armour. Superb football.
39 min: Penalty Goal: Following a penalty for a high shot Michael DeVere slots the ball in between the posts.
Halftime: A superb first half comes to a end. Cronulla are growing with confidence as the match wears on not being affraid to throw the ball around inside their own 20 metres. Brisbane's forwards are starting to get tired after starting the match at full bolt. Brisbane are leading at the break 16-8. Time in possesion: Broncos 58%, Sharks 42%
40 min: Broncos kickoff
40 min: News - Shaun Berrigan is out of the match with a hamstring & Ben Ikin shouldnt be back on today with a bout of concussion
45 min: News - The Broncos have had 2 sets in a row putting plenty of pressure on Cronulla's back three.
52 min: Try - Sharks: Superb try created from nothing from Cronulla ending with Ryan McGoldrick scoring out wide. Kimmorley converts. 16-14 Broncos
55 min: News - The pace of this match hasnt slowed done one bit. Will this match come down to fitness?
59 min: News - Darren Lockyer kicks a 40/20 when it was most needed. Gutting for this Cronulla.
60 min: News - Brent Tate's pass to his wing goes out. If it wouldve went to hand it would of been a try. Superb stuff!
62 min: News - A broncos high kick is regathered by Michael DeVere, he trys to pass to Craig Frawley whos outaide him but it was intercepted by Cronulla wing Nathan Meritt.
64 min: Try - Sharks: David Peachey passes it to Sam Isemonger who simply runs through some weak Brisbane defence to put Cronulla in the lead. Kimmorley converts. 20-16 Cronulla
66 min: News - A replay of the last try scored, David Peachey passes it to Sam Isemonger but it's ruled forward by the referee. The Broncos are on their haunches sucking it in.
68 min: News - Brett Kimmorley kicks a remarkable 40/20 kick. David Peachey comes off the field with a hamstring injury, A big blow for Cronulla.
70 min: Try - Sharks: Nigel Vagana passes to his inside Sam Isemonger for what should be a fairy tale win for the side from the Shire. Kimmorley's kick just goes wide. 24-16 Cronulla
71 min: News - Brent Tate comes off the field grabbing his left shoulder.
73 min: News - Shane Webcke's offload goes to Craig Frawley, Sam Isemonger tackles him over the line in what was a try scoring tackle.
75 min: Try - Sharks: Michael Sullivan puts in a brilliant banana kick to Nathan Merritt who runs at full tilt to score. Kimmorleys conversion is over. 30-16 Sharks
77 min: News - Nigel Vagana hobles off with a ankle injury.
79 min: Try - Broncos: Darren Lockyer sets Petero Civoniceva up to score in between the middle of the posts. DeVere converts. 30-22 Sharks
Brilliant display from the Cronulla side playing some outstanding football and never gave up. Cronulla win 30-22 ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Sullivan (Sharks) 2 - A Lomu (Sharks) 1 - S Webcke (Broncos) -----------------------------------------