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The Cronulla Sharks have put the cleaners through a lacklustre and understrength Brisbane Broncos side tonight at Toyota Stadium, posting a 46-12 victory in front of 8,117 home fans.
The boys in the black white and blue could not have made a better start, with Scott Porter nailing a 40/20 kick on the fifth tackle of the first set in the game, and on the back of that set the Sharks posted the first points with Blake Ferguson crossing in the corner early despite the attention of a number of defenders.
Things didn't look as good just three minutes later, the Sharks coughing up possession and allowing Brisbane straight back in - a try to Corey Parker which he then converted putting the visitors in the box seat.
In previous matches earlier this season, that moment would've killed the Sharks and their opposition would've gone on with it - not so now. The Sharks held strong and posted two tries and a penalty goal before fulltime, including a bullocking effort from Grant Millington who carried defenders for over 10 metres before crashing over.
Leading 18-6 at the break, going on with the job was the most important thing but the Broncos struck the first blow in attack, Steve Michaels throwing a great dummy before the Sharks line before cutting through and scoring what would be Brisbane's last points of the night.
Cronulla struck back immediately though, and after the 55 minute mark the floodgates slowly opened. Blake Ferguson ended the match with a hat-trick, and Grant Millington managed to add to his tally. Luke Covell and Kade Snowden simply took advantage of poor options in both attack and defence to score their four pointers, and against a young and raw Broncos outfit it was simply too easy.
The Sharks will take extra pride out of the match as they missed Trent Barrett and Paul Gallen through Origin duty, while Brisbane are now in a very low place, three consecutive weeks of conceding 40-plus points and now a negative for-and-against. Missing their Origin stars granted, there are big problems north of the border.
Next week the Sharks will battle it out against the Roosters at the SFS, while Brisbane will head to Parramatta and face the out-of-form Eels.
Match Details Cronulla Sharks 46 def Brisbane Broncos 12 Round 15 - Monday June 22nd, 2009 07:00pm Venue: Toyota Stadium, Woolooware Referees: Gavin Badger & Brett Suttor Sideline Officials: Adam Devcich & Peter Kirby Video Referee: Steve Clark Crowd: 8,117 Halftime: Sharks 18 Broncos 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Talk about the game as it happens - Sharks v Broncos forum discussion - click here!
SHARKS: 1. Nathan Stapleton 2. Blake Ferguson 3. Matt Wright 4. Mitch Brown 5. Luke Covell (c) 13. Reece Williams 7. Scott Porter 8. Kade Snowden 9. Corey Hughes 10. Johnny Mannah 11. Atelea Vea 12. Luke Douglas 23. Anthony Tupou Interchange: 14. Jacob Selmes 15. Grant Millington 16. Ben Pomeroy 17. Terence Seu Seu BRONCOS: 1. Dale Copley 2. Antonio Winterstein 3. Steve Michaels 4. Alex Glenn 5. Jharal Yow Yeh 6. Andrew McCullough 7. Ben Hunt 8. Joel Clinton 9. PJ Marsh 10. Nick Kenny 11. Josh McGuire 12. Ben Te'o 13. Corey Parker (c) Interchange: 14. Lagi Setu 15. Ashton Sims 16. Palmer Wapau 17. Guy Williams
Just the one change for the Sharks, Blake Green's out, replaced by Anthony Tupou with Reece Williams moving to five-eighth. Brisbane are 1-17. Both teams playing in alternate strips tonight - Sharks black and Broncos white.
1 min: 40/20 - Cronulla Sharks Scott Porter's kicking game has received much praise in recent weeks and he's given Cronulla a fantastic start tonight with a 40/20 at the conclusion of the first set.
2 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Sharks try Blake Ferguson has produced what looks a freakish effort, his entire body is out but he's got the ball down by the looks... Decision pending...
3 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks A terrific try to Blake Ferguson in the corner, keeping his body off the ground. Scott Porter take a bow for setting it up, and the Sharks are on the board early. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell unsuccessful. Cronulla Sharks 4-0
6 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos An error gives the Broncos possession close to the Sharks line and another repeat set comes from a penalty. The Sharks eventually crack, stand-in captain Corey Parker pushing his way over the line to even the scores... and the conversion is successful from him as well as the Broncos now take the lead. Brisbane Broncos 6-4
8 min: A last tackle kick from McCullough on halfway goes awry and the Sharks will start attacking from halfway.
11 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Sharks try Porter bombs, Yow Yeh spills it and Brown takes the scraps to score, just checking onside and whether a Sharks player has touched it in the contest.
12 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks Scott Porter puts a well-placed bomb up and Jharal Yow Yeh fails to take it cleanly, the ball spilling back to Mitch Brown who scores unopposed beside the posts. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. Cronulla Sharks 10-6
16 min: PENALTY GOAL Cronulla Sharks McCullough drops the ball at first receiver, Suttor calls a knock-on, and as McCullough throws the ball away in frustration, Suttor blows a penalty for timewasting. The Sharks don't hesitate in adding two points through Covell. Cronulla Sharks 12-6
20 min: PENALTY Broncos - surging upfield the Broncos manage to get a penalty out of Sharks centre Matt Wright who lays in the ruck a little too long. They'll attack on the Sharks line now.
21 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Broncos try Dale Copley has run hard at the line out wide on tackle five, checking on grounding. REFS CALL - Gavin Badger rules that Copley was HELD UP - NO TRY. Handover, Sharks ball.
23 min: Brisbane prop Joel Clinton spills the ball coming out of his own half, Cronulla will attack again now.
26 min: PENALTY Broncos - Scott Porter penalised for a mid-air tackle... very dubious call - Porter only got one hand on the player, who was almost on the ground anyway.
29 min: PENALTY Sharks - Broncos inside the ten, a bit of a crowd penalty as the noise levels increase at Toyota.
30 min: A good grubber on the fifth traps Jharal Yow Yeh in goal despite his best efforts to escape the Sharks' clutches.
32 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks Grant Millington takes a good short ball from Reece Williams and breaks through a number of tackles... unstoppable! Millington crosses the line to extend the Sharks lead. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. Cronulla Sharks 18-6
34 min: Ben Hunt kicks it out on the full as the "Baby Broncos" continue to struggle.
INJURY NEWS - Jacob Selmes (Sharks) has rolled his ankle, possible ligament damage.
35 min: Porter's kicking game continues to dominate and this time the Sharks have been able to trap Antonio Winterstein. From the drop-out PJ Marsh and Nick Kenny force the ball loose and then a tackle later Broncos' utility Ben Te'o drops it. Sharks scrum 40m out.
37 min: The Broncos come up out of the line, forcing a forward pass from Cronulla fullback Nathan Stapleton to relieve the pressure.
38 min: PENALTY Broncos - high tackle by John Mannah, the Broncos advance with a set beginning on halfway now.
HALFTIME: Cronulla Sharks 18 Brisbane Broncos 6 The home side certainly dominating proceedings as we go to "oranges", Brisbane's young stock having trouble matching it with the more experienced heads at Cronulla. So far impressive from the Sharks, who have commanded possession and field position, largely thanks to halfback Scott Porter's pinpoint kicking game.
The Sharks are travelling well but as they say it's anyone's game, don't miss the second forty, back here soon.
41 min: PENALTY Broncos - inside the ten, a chance for Brisbane to register an early try here, although the penalty kick isn't crash hot.
42 min: A grubber on the last forces a repeat set, Brisbane will attack again.
43 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos The Broncos are able to run the numbers to the left and Steve Michaels throws a fantastic dummy and goes over himself. Some poor defence from Cronulla there. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful. Cronulla Sharks 18-12
44 min: Ben Hunt spills the ball for Brisbane off the kickoff which was strangely short by the Sharks. Scrum-feed for the home side.
46 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks Grant Millington gets a double! A pass close to the line from Terrence Seu Seu and the Broncos defence isn't big enough and strong enough to stop him. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. Cronulla Sharks 24-12
50 min: PENALTY Broncos - the Sharks all caught offside in executing some brilliant defence. Brisbane out of trouble.
52 min: Six again for the Sharks just 15m out from the Broncos line, they could put the game beyond doubt here!
55 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks The Sharks send the ball through the hands to the left flank and they've got an overlap... it's a double for Blake Ferguson now, and Cronulla now open up a convincing lead. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell unsuccessful. Cronulla Sharks 28-12
57 min: Dale Copley spills the ball on his own line and Cronulla are on the atta.... WHOA! Ben Te'o has turned Nathan Stapleton base over apex in a big spear tackle. Ben Te'o (Broncos) is ON REPORT. PENALTY Sharks.
60 min: A good grubber forces Nathan Stapleton to bat the ball dead and it's a line drop-out for Cronulla, Brisbane with a chance to restore some pride here.
63 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks It's party time in the Shire - Ferguson has his third try! A terrible kick from Ben Hunt on the last is picked up by Anthony Tupou and he sends it on to Blake Ferguson who races 70 metres to score unopposed. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. Cronulla Sharks 34-12
66 min: PENALTY Sharks - Lagi Setu concedes a penalty for Brisbane and this will give Cronulla good field position. Could get ugly here...
68 min: PENALTY Broncos - Sharks not square at marker. A chance for Brisbane.
72 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Broncos try Nick Kenny has amazingly won the race to a ball in-goal off a grubber, but it doesn't look like he's grounded it. Decision pending... NO TRY, 20m restart for Cronulla.
75 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Sharks try Kade Snowden has gone over, he's bumped into Corey Hughes en-route, so they're checking obstruction. Decision pending...
76 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks - Benefit of the Doubt Kade Snowden is ruled not to have used Corey Hughes as an obstruction, and is given benefit of the doubt after a question mark over the grounding. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. Cronulla Sharks 40-12
79 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks The men at the back for Brisbane make a meal of the down-field kick and in the slippery conditions the ball is loose, Covell scoops it up and pops it over the line for a try. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. Cronulla Sharks 46-12
FULLTIME: Cronulla Sharks 46 Brisbane Broncos 12 An emphatic victory in the end for the Sharks and they've absolutely belted a meek Broncos outfit weakened by injury and Origin representation. The win is made all the sweeter by the fact they're missing Gallen and Barrett, two of their leaders. The team song belts out around Toyota Stadium and the fans are singing - four straight wins for the men in the black, white and blue.
Thanks for joining us tonight... don't miss Origin II with us - live from 8:00pm on Wednesday night.