Thursday 22 March 2018 / 09:04 PM


BRISBANE BRONCOS 26 d. CRONULLA SHARKS 18 @ Southern Cross Group Stadium

The match: Brisbane produced the ideal start to their campaign on the road, grabbing an early lead that they would never relinquish to subdue defending premiers Cronulla on the NRL’s opening night.

The Broncos led 14-6 at halftime, with Darius Boyd laying on the first try of season 2017 for Jordan Kahu and James Roberts showing magnificent pace to latch onto a grubber either side of a sharp Sharks effort finished off by Gerard Beale.

The visitors seemed set to run away with it as Corey Oates zipped over in the corner for 20-6, but at the hour mark the Sharks had cut the deficit to just two after four-pointers to James Maloney and Ricky Leutele.

Brisbane looked to be running out of puff and had used their last interchange with 15 minutes to go, but Anthony Milford stopped the comeback in its tracks with a dazzling solo run from close to the try-line, restoring an eight-point lead.

The Broncos calmly closed out the match from that point, taking a very satisfying two-point haul back to Brisbane with them as they confront an incredibly tough draw to start 2017.

The man: Oh captain, my captain. New Broncos skipper Darius Boyd laid on the first try in each half with exquisite passes, his positional play at the back was brilliant, and his calmness and poise on attack and defence was invaluable. Milford, Kahu and Sam Thaiday were also great for the Broncos, while Lewis, Wade Graham and debutant hooker Jayden Brailey were the Sharks’ standouts.

The moment: The Broncos were limping towards the finish line and clinging to a two-point lead when a rushed last-tackle kick by Josh McGuire rebounded off Paul Gallen into the arms of an offside Jack Bird. The fortuitous repeat set that resulted allowed Milford to jink his way through for the match-sealer.

Brisbane Broncos 26 (Jordan Kahu, James Roberts, Corey Oates, Anthony Milford tries; Kahu 5 goals) d. Cronulla Sharks 18 (Gerard Beale, James Maloney, Ricky Leutele tries; Maloney 3 goals).


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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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