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Match summary The Cronulla Sharks have outclassed the Brisbane Broncos to score an impressive 16-8 victory at Toyota Park tonight, with Broncos and Maroons captain Darren Lockyer being forced off with an ankle injury in the second half.
After scoring the first two tries, the Broncos led 8-0 after just nine minutes of play.
But it would be the last time the visitors would trouble the scoreboard. With defence ruling proceedings, the Sharks struck back with a try and two goals to even ledger to 8-all at half time.
The Sharks got their noses in front with a penalty goal just after the break.
The contest opened up in the 55th minute following a tremendous run from man-of-the-match Paul Gallen, the Sharks back rower busting the line from his own side of half way before finding support on the inside with lock forward Greg Bird taking the final pass to score under the posts.
The successful conversion from winger Luke Covell put the Sharks 16-8 in front.
Already struggling for field position against a committed Sharks defence, the Broncos hopes were further diminished when five eighth Darren Lockyer limped off with an ankle injury in the 62nd minute.
The injury puts the Queensland skipper in doubt for the opening State of Origin clash which kicks off on the 23rd May at Suncorp Stadium.
Meanwhile, Brett Kimmorley didn't do his New South Wales selection hopes any harm, the Sharks halfback reaping the benefits of playing behind a dominant Sharks pack.
Tonight's match was the Sharks' first win over the Broncos in the last six outings, with the Sharks holding the Broncos scoreless in the second half.
Round 9 - Full Time :: May 11th, 2007 07:30 PM Venue: Toyota Park Referee: Shayne Hayne
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 16 Tries: Fraser Anderson, Greg Bird Goals: Luke Covell (4/4) Brisbane Broncos 8 Tries: Steve Michaels, Tonie Carroll Goals: Darren Lockyer (0/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Paul Gallen (Sharks) 2 Points: Greg Bird (Sharks) 1 Point: Luke Covell (Sharks)
Live Commentary Friday night football and kick off not far away - a fine evening at Toyota Park, although a little cool and there's a bit of dew about.
3 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Winger Steve Michaels scores in the left corner in the first set of the match. Conversion attempt by Darren Lockyer unsuccessful. Brisbane Broncos 4-0
7 min: HELD UP Broncos front rower Dane Carlaw held up. Broncos with plenty of tackles up their sleeve.
9 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Back rower Tonie Carroll scores out wide on the left side after Darren Lockyer sets him up from close range. Conversion attempt by Darren Lockyer unsuccessful. Brisbane Broncos 8-0
14 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks Big centre Fraser Anderson hits the line hard from close range. Looks to be held up but has the strength to plant it down. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. Brisbane Broncos 8-6
25 min: Still 8-6 in favour of the Broncos. Tight struggle for the middle ground with the Sharks defending strongly.
32 min: Broncos launch another attacking raid down their left side. This time the Sharks right side defence marks up well with the last Broncos pass going into touch.
35 min: PENALTY GOAL Cronulla Sutherland Sharks Sharks penalty goal after Broncos markers are not square. No problems for Covell from roughly 20m out and right in front. 8 all
Half time: 8 all The Sharks looking flat early on but striking back well after the Broncos scored the opening two tries. The Broncos have notched up two tries to one and enjoying 56% possession, but the Sharks appeared to gaining the ascendancy around the ruck in the latter sections of the half. Back rower Paul Gallen a standout for the Sharks in defence while halfback Brett Kimmorley is doing his chances for a NSW jersey no harm. Meanwhile Broncos skipper and five eighth Darren Lockyer is working over time in both attack and defence. This match is up for grabs.
Second half underway...
42 min: Sharks come within a whisker of scoring early in the second half with lock forward Greg Bird coming close, stooped short of the line by Michael Ennis.
45 min: PENALTY GOAL Cronulla Sutherland Sharks Covell slots a penalty goal from easy range after the Broncos are found offside. Follows a big bust from full back Brett Kearney for the Sharks and the Broncos on the back foot. Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 10-8
46 min: Sharks on the attack again after Broncos give away another penalty. Penalties favour Sharks 5-2.
49 min: Sharks with an overlap but some top class defence from the Broncos holds them out. Frenetic opening to the second half with the Sharks having the bulk of possession and field position.
52 min: INJURY Sharks full back Brett Kearney comes off.
55 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks Greg Bird scores under the sticks following a tremendous bust from Paul Gallen and a movement with began 5 metres on the Sharks side of half way. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 16-8
57 min: INJURY Broncos and Queensland skipper Darren Lockyer limps off with a nasty looking ankle injury after going down awkwardly in a tackle.
62 min: INJURY Broncos lock forward Greg Eastwood getting some treatment on the sideline.
70 min: Broncos getting a little more ball now and chancing their arm but the Sharks defence is equal to the task.
74 min: NO TRY Sharks denied when Reece Williams is ruled to have made a double movement by the video ref.
78 min: Broncos on the attack but knock-on as they desperately try to keep the ball alive, and its all over red rover.
Full time: Sharks 16-8 Sharks dominating the second half with back rower Paul Gallen easily the best player on the park. Greg Bird was another stand out up front. In the backs, half back Brett Kimmorley prospered well from the go forward in the engine room while winger Luke Covell was always looking for work. For the Broncos, prop Petero Civoniceva tried hard all night while pivot Darren Lockyer looked in good form before being forced off with an ankle injury. News from the sheds is that the Maroons skipper's injury may not be as bad as first feared but its still too early to say.