The visitors opened the scoring just five minutes in after back-rower Jordan Riki reeled in a ricocheting, Sharks grubber on his own goal-line and raced nearly 90 metres downfield before being dragged down by a pair of desperate chasers.
Kotoni Staggs scooped the ball up at acting half and stormed through the retreating defensive line to slam the ball down.
The Sharks answered on the other side of the quarter-mark via Staggs’ opposite Siosifa Talakai who poured through a hole off the hip of Nicho Hynes off a scrum 40 metres out to make it 6-4.
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The Broncos crafted a length-of-the-field beauty prior to half-time with returning winger Corey Oates charging onto a bouncing, Ezra Mam cut-out from inside his own 10, streaking 60 metres down the left touchline, and finding a supporting Mam with a well-timed kick that resulted in the 20-year-old’s seventh try of the season.
With 90 seconds to play in the half, Brisbane embarked on a short-side raid that forced an error off a Staggs chip and a subsequent grounding from Broncos winger Jesse Arthars to make it 14-6 heading into the intermission.
Cronulla went within inches of answering 10 minutes into the second stanza off a pinpoint Hynes kick that was reeled in by Ronaldo Mulitalo and dumped off to Talakai in familiar fashion only for some desperate, Brisbane cover to buck it.
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Mulitalo went close to snatching another well-placed bomb moments later only for the ball to miss his fingertips by a whisker before Brisbane denied another left-edge, Sharks raid on the other side of the hour-mark with the New Zealand international bundled into touch just short of the line off some sharp, lead-up work.
The hosts were unable to duplicate Brisbane’s brilliant scramble down the other end with centre Herbie Farnworth crashing his way over off a slick shift in the 68th minute to make it 20-6.
Will Kennedy created something out of nothing in the closing stages grubbering for himself, toeing the ball forward, and grounding it for his 12th try of the season.
The Sharks made 15 errors and lost the penalty count in a performance that head coach Craig Fitzgibbon would hardly be pleased with.
Brisbane were led by Oates’ try assist, trio of line breaks, and game-high 237 run metres whilst Staggs scored a try, assisted on another, and ran for 222 metres with eight tackle breaks.
For Cronulla, Hynes assisted on a try and four line breaks to go along with 156 run metres whilst Kennedy scored one and ran for 212 metres.
The Sharks will be in Melbourne next Sunday to take on the Storm in another important clash.
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