Our weekly feature - The Armchair Expert - returns just in time for the finals!
This week we look a...
20 hours ago
The Cronulla Sharks have put 5 weeks of scoreless football behind them with a 24-22 come from behind win over the Brisbane Broncos in front of 24,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium.
The Sharks didn't get the best start to the match with Luke Lewis being forced from the field inside the opening 2 minutes with concussion.
The Sharks created the majority of the early scoring opportunities however the Broncos were first to score when the Sharks brittle defence out wide when Daniel Vidot took advantage, Ben Hunt missed the conversion from the sideline which eventually made the difference in the Broncos loss.
The Broncos then again took advantage again of the weak defence from the Sharks with Ben Hunt setting up easy tries for Alex Glenn and David Hala and after the Broncos converted the goals the margin blew out to 16-0.
The second half didn't get a lot better for the Sharks when an early drop ball from Tinirau Arona gave the Broncos good field position and they took advantage when David Hala got his first ever career double and took the margin out to 22-0.
At this stage, the Sharks were looking down the barrel of another nil defeat but it took some repeat sets and a pinpoint kick from Todd Carney to give Jacob Gagan the try and the Sharks had their first points in well over 300 minutes of action.
Even though they had scored, the feeling of a comeback was still some way off though it only took them five minutes to get another one when Paul Gallen scored to bring the margin back to 10 points.
The comeback was well and truly underway and it was Todd Carney who was in control of the match and he took advantage of poor Broncos to go through and score and Michael Gordon converted to close the margin back to six.
Todd Carney was central to any Sharks attacking raid and yet again it was off his boot that Sharks score when Dale Copley dropped a Carney bomb and it was cleaned up by Sosaia Feki who had to wait for the Video Referees to spin up the green lights and the Sharks were in front.
The Broncos had one more attacking raid but that ended up with the touchie and the Sharks had done enough to secure an upset come from behind victory.
The Broncos get the bye next weekend before having to wait until Monday night in round 18 when they travel out to Western Sydney to take on the Penrith Panthers at Sportingbet Stadium meanwhile the Sharkies will be looking to capitalise on this win when they have the tough task of taking on the Roosters at Allianz Stadium next Saturday.
LATE MAIL: Brisbane Broncos - Unchanged and take the field, 1-17
LATE MAIL: Cronulla Sharks - Bryce Gibbs OUT; Chris Heighington IN; Paul Gallen shifts to the forwards, Siosaia Vave starts in the second row pushing Wade Graham to lock. Sam Tagataese will start from the interchange.
The Cronulla Sharks are on their way out to Suncorp Stadium - can they score points tonight?
The Broncos head out on to Suncorp Stadium wearing their 1990's heritage jersey
1: Broncos spread it wide before Ben Hunt kicks downfield on the last from halfway
3: Ben Hunt puts in a poor kick from halfway rolls way too far and goes dead, Sharks get a 20m restart and 7 tackles
5: Some good work at the back from Michael Gordon in the air cleans up a Broncos knock on and Gordon gets out to the 30m on zero tackle
11: The Sharkies give their best Harlem Globetrotters impression and nearly comes off but Tinirau Arona gets tackled just 2m short of Broncos line
13: Jake Granville puts a kick in from dummy half and looks to be held back in the chase, Penalty not coming but Broncos do get a repeat set
18: Ben Hunt kicks down the short side of the field and the ball takes one bounce and into the cornerpost - 20m restart for the Sharks
20: Michael Gordon keeps his eyes on the ball but the ball goes straight through the hands and right on the goalline his teammates clean it up
20: Sam Thaiday charges down the Sharks kick and the Sharkies will get six more from halfway
23: Broncos get it up to the Sharks 30m on just tackle 3 after the 20m restart
26: PENALTY BRONCOS: First penalty of the night goes to the home side after Fa'amanu Brown is penalised by the Badge for being too slow from the ruck
27: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Alex Glenn. Kick to come.
Ben Hunt goes to the line and gives the ball to Alex Glenn who goes through the hole and scores around behind the posts after the right side defence from the Sharks crumbled
31: Well despite passing a SCAT test, Luke Lewis WON'T RETURN tonight - feeling the effects of the concussion
33: A good leave from Sosaia Feki sees the ball roll dead from a Broncos kick and they will get a 20m restart
33: Fa'amanu Brown goes through a gap and the Sharks attacking in good position
34: Despite having excellent field position, the Sharks kick the ball well dead off the boot of Wade Graham
35: PENALTY BRONCOS: Broncos get the second penalty of the night after Anthony Tupou is penalised for going through the ruck
39: Sharks use a Get Out Of Jail Free card when the Broncos are ruled to have knocked on despite a poor pass from Anthony Tupou
39: Fa'amanu Brown goes himself from dummy half but gets held up on tackle 5 in goal
39: Another piece of poor play from the Sharks and they are tackled on the last without even pressuring the defence inside the Broncos 10m
40: HALF TIME at Suncorp Stadium and its the Brisbane Broncos leading the Cronulla Sharks 16-0 at the break
40: The Sharks are back on the field at Suncorp Stadium with the big question is can they get points on the board
41: Play back underway for the Second Half
44: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by David Hala. Kick to come.
David Hala goes straight through like a runaway train down the hill - nobody was going to stop him and its given the green lights by the Video Referees
47: Broncos go high with the kick and Michael Gordon takes it behind his shoulder after over jumping the kick
50: UNFORCED ERROR BRISBANE BRONCOS
Dale Copley makes an unforced error.
Dale Copley drops the ball off the bomb and the Sharks go 30m sideways before themselves losing it however the Badge says there was no advantage for the Sharks
50: The Sharks go close 3 times but to no avail - they do manage to force a repeat set though
53: The Sharks go close AGAIN... but can't score but like the previous set force a dropout
55: TRY CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Scored by Jacob Gagan. Kick to come.
The Sharks show some good play and it comes of a pinpoint kick from Todd Carney to a flying Jacob Gagan who takes the kick untouched to score
56: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful.
The man known as Flash puts a beautiful conversion in from the western sideline to convert the try
62: Ben Hunt looks to slow play down with a short kick into touch 25m out from the Sharks line
62: The Sharks force their FOURTH dropout of the second half with Jeff Robson putting a pinpoint bomb that came down right on the goal line
68: Sharks are being forced to run it out from their own 20m zone after the Sharks are forced to clean up a Broncos bomb
71: The Broncos try to keep it close to the play the ball but its cleaned up by the Sharks and the pressure is relieved
73: Ben Hunt kicks for himself but its way too deep and the Sharks will get a 7 tackle set from the 20m
78: Josh Hoffmann gets a rebound but then ends up throwing the ball into touch