Kotoni Staggs has scored a late try to help Brisbane Broncos record an upset 16-7 win over Cronulla in their NRL clash at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
While the matchup between Staggs and Talakai was promoted as the night’s main event, it was a one-way street on the right edge, with the Broncos centre dominating.
Talakai was unable to make an impact, and he ended the game with 113 meters, six tackle busts, and a try. He also made some unusual errors that were not his typical style of play.
The entire Brisbane Broncos defense was outstanding, and the fact that Payne Haas only had to play 55 minutes demonstrated how much of a collective effort it was.
Haas left the game early with a shoulder injury and did not return as the Broncos held on for a victory.
Cronulla’s lack of enthusiasm and impatience in attack cost them the game.
In the first half, the Sharks looked dangerous on several occasions, but they lacked their typical precision passing on the perimeter.
After all, Cronulla’s lone points in the first half came when five-eighth Matt Moylan kicked forward for himself to score beneath the posts in broken play.
The Broncos scored the first try in the 10th minute when Jamayne Isaako sliced through the Sharks line to put Staggs over.
The Sharks responded immediately with a field goal to trail 6-2 after Talakai was held up over the line.
A slew of blunders on both sides resulted in a bleak 10-minute stretch in the first half before Staggs’ individual brilliance brought the Suncorp faithful to their feet.
Staggs beat Talakai before sprinting past Ronaldo Mulitalo to dive over in the corner after Te Maire Martin simply tossed the ball to him in space.
The Sharks took a 7-6 lead into the locker room thanks to Nicho Hynes’ late field goal, which was the only other score of the half.
After a spirited opening half, the Broncos returned to the field for the second half and showed that they were ready to face whatever was thrown at them.
Despite taking injury concerns into the sheds, both Adam Reynolds (nose) and Haas (shoulder) returned to give Brisbane Broncos a major boost heading into the second half.
And it was the Broncos who scored first, with Jesse Ramien being caught off guard by Herbie Farnworth in the 43rd minute.
After an early linebreak from Corey Oates put the Broncos in great field position, Brisbane found itself on a roll as Kurt Capewell surged over.
Later in the game, the Sharks had a few chances to respond, but they failed to take advantage of their field position, and the Broncos held on for what could be a season-defining victory.
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