Finals football fever is around the corner. This clash might just deliver that finals intensity a little early as the Sharks are desperate to get back on track after being embarrassed by the Raiders last week.
Brisbane come into the game fresh from their recording the club’s second-biggest winning margin ever, over the Titans. They didn’t just beat the Gold Coast side; they tore them to shreds in style with imaginative, attractive footy that sent a message to the rest of the competition.
The Broncos are warming to the task and have three home games before a clash with bitter rivals North Queensland. Brisbane will be fired up and ready to take all eight of the points on offer in the regular season.
A loss for Sharks could start to derail their season. The return of James Maloney is timely as they struggled in attack with an out-of-form Chad Townsend in his place.
2017 – Rd 1 Brisbane Broncos 26 def. Cronulla Sharks 18 at Southern Cross Group Stadium
2016 – Rd 9 Cronulla Sharks 30 def. Brisbane Broncos 28 at Southern Cross Group Stadium
2015 – Rd 2 Brisbane Broncos 10 def. Cronulla Sharks 2 at Southern Cross Group Stadium
2014 – Rd 16 Cronulla Sharks 24 def. Brisbane Broncos 22 at Suncorp Stadium
2013 – Rd 18 Cronulla Sharks 19 def. Brisbane Broncos 18 at Suncorp Stadium
This is the first time that the two sides have met twice in a season since 2011, with the Sharks winning three of the last five meetings. Both sides have enjoyed a better success rate when they are the visitors.
The Broncos beat the defending Premiers in their round one clash when both sides were close to full strength. Neither side was at their best however the opening result of the season sits was a good indicator for where the teams are at right now.
Cronulla are renowned for their defensive resolve while the Broncos are a strong cohesive unit across the park and have gone toe-to-toe with the grind the Sharks love so much in recent times.
|Darius Boyd||1||1||Valentine Holmes|
|Corey Oates||2||2||Sosaia Feki|
|James Roberts||3||3||Kurt Capewell|
|Tautau Moga||4||4||Ricky Leutele|
|Jordan Kahu||5||5||Gerard Beale|
|Anthony Milford||6||6||James Maloney|
|Kodi Nikorima||7||7||Chad Townsend|
|Korbin Sims||8||8||Andrew Fifita|
|Ben Hunt||9||9||Fa’amanu Brown|
|Adam Blair||10||10||Matt Prior|
|Alex Glenn||11||11||Luke Lewis|
|Matt Gillett||12||12||Wade Graham|
|Josh McGuire||13||13||Paul Gallen|
|Sam Thaiday||14||14||Jayson Bukuya|
|Tevita Pangai Junior||15||15||Chris Heighington|
|Jai Arrow||16||16||Jeremy Latimore|
|Herman Ese’ese||7||17||James Segeyaro|
|Jaydn Su’A||18||18||Sam Tagataese|
|Tom Opacic||19||21||Jesse Ramien|
The Facts That Matter
Brisbane boast the best attack in the league after last weeks 54-0 demolition of the Titans. The running games of their diminutive playmakers has lifted at a crucial time of the season. None of them are reknowned for their defence but their ability to pile on points may outweigh that weakness.
Kodi Nikorima, Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt combined for eight of Brisbane’s 10 tries, with Hunt involved in five. Wayne Bennett’s masterstroke to leave Hunt on the bench for the first 20 minutes will be utilised once more. His pace and running game is a big danger for the Sharks.
The Broncos have three home games in a row now but their tough run-in means that this game is crucial.
It is Paul Gallen’s 300th game and there are some who claim he may be the greatest player ever to don the Sharks jersey. He has been an absolute colossus throughout his career. Has there been a harder working player in the NRL over the last 15 years?
Shane Flanagan’s spray at half-time last week ensured the Sharks came out raring to go in the second half. They still lost however and their enterprising attack will have to be present from the offset, with Brisbane likely to score 18+ points.
The Sharks also face a difficult run-in with the Cowboys and Roosters coming up. Win this one and their confidence will be buoyed heading to Townsville but if they lose then their top four hopes might start slipping through their fingers.
Brad Fittler has sensationally ruled out the Sharks as a Premiership force this year however Matty Johns reminded everyone that the Sharks can put together three weeks of quality footy to challenge in the finals.
Brisbane re-discovered their mojo last week and would’ve been brimming with confidence in the build-up to this game. The Sharks don’t seem to be gelling as they did last year where they went on a 16-match unbeaten run. The Broncos attack will be too much for the Sharks, who may drop as low as seventh by the end of the weekend. Brisbane by 10.
Who will win this massive clash? Let us know in the comments below.
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