Opponents tonight in a top-four blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane and Cronulla have crafted an intriguing rivalry over the years, and clash for the 53rd time tonight.
The Broncos hold a 32-20 advantage in the all-time match tally, but they’ve felt the Sharks’ bite on many occasions – including at finals time, where the team from the Shire has won four of seven high-powered encounters.
Brisbane holds a commanding 11-4 advantage in matches at Suncorp Stadium, but Cronulla has won its last three at the venue – after saluting there just once in its first 12 visits.
Flashback Friday takes you through the Top 5 Broncos-Sharks matches since 1988.
5. Broncos prevail but Sharks set premiership record (1993)
Defending champs Brisbane scraped to a 38-34 win against lowly Cronulla at ANZ Stadium after leading 30-10 at halftime. Steve Renouf scored three tries for the Broncos, but it was the ragtag Sharks’ comeback that was the major talking point, setting a record for the most points scored by a losing side.
4. Cronulla upset Brisbane to grab prelim berth (1996)
Brisbane suffered a back-door finals exit for the second season in row, outpointed 22-16 by Cronulla at the SFS. A sizzling 60-metre try to fullback David Peachey from a scrum move put the Sharks up 12-0 just seven minutes in, but the Broncos fought back with two tries to trail 14-8 at the break – just before which Les Davidson and Allan Langer engaged in one of the most mismatched stoushes of all time. Tonie Carroll’s second four-pointer pegged the Broncos back to within two, but Richie Barnett’s spectacular grab of Paul Green’s cross-field kick in the 67th minute effectively sealed the Sharks’ passage to the preliminary final.
3. Sharks belt Broncos in playoff (1989)
A stunning second half surge saw Cronulla bundle Brisbane out of the 1989 premiership race. The Sharks scored two tries to one in the first half to lead 14-8, but a Wally Lewis try set up by a brilliant Allan Langer chip-and-chase levelled the scores at Parramatta Stadium. It was all Cronulla from that point, however, as the underdogs piled on four unanswered tries to prevail 38-14. Livewire fullback Jonathan Docking repeatedly cut the Broncos to ribbons with his peerless kick returns, winger Alan Wilson scored 18 points, and playmakers Gavin Miller and Michael Speechley added the polish in the Sharks’ staggering victory.
2. Broncos crowned Super League premiers (1997)
The Brisbane Broncos proved they were a cut above the rest of the Super League contenders with a comprehensive 26-8 defeat of Cronulla in the Grand Final. Steve Renouf scored the only try of the first half as the Broncos led 10-2 at the break, but Sharks centre Russell Richardson scored soon after the resumption to cut the deficit to two. The Broncos put on the afterburners from that point, though, with Renouf completing the first grand final hat-trick since 1961 before Michael Hancock iced the resounding victory with a late try.
1.Embattled Sharks’ miracle comeback (2014)
Cronulla had set the unlikeliest month-long platform for one of the most remarkable fight-backs in premiership history. Scoreless in their previous three games – an unprecedented ‘feat’ by any club – the Sharks were behind 22-0 after 53 minutes against Brisbane and a routine landslide looked inevitable. But after their points drought that had lasted more than five hours, spanning 35 days, was ended by centre Jonathan Wright, the shackles were broken. The Sharks ran in another three unanswered tries – all converted by Michael Gordon – to pull off the unlikeliest of 24-22 victories, breaking records for Cronulla’s biggest-ever comeback and Brisbane’s biggest-ever collapse. Incredibly, the embattled Sharks went on to break their comeback record just eight days later against the Roosters.