The Broncos were almost playing on one leg as they suffered injuries across the park; but they were still good enough to grind out the win after Cronulla came back at them hard in the second half from 14-6 down with tries to full-back Brett Kearney and second-rower Grant Millington.
When Gallen was asked his thoughts on the Stagg tackle at the post match press conference, Stuart interjected: “I’ll talk about that … that was accidental.”
“I understand the referee wants to let the judiciary or the committee have a look at it,” Stuart said.
“But Paul didn’t even lean into the tackle.
“There was no malice in it, it was an accidental shot and I feel as though that’s the way the panel will see it.
“Because it’s Paul Gallen it will get some extra attention from others outside us but it was one of those accidental shots to the head.
“Hopefully a common sense approach will prevail.”
Gallen described his front-on tackle which left Stagg dazed as a “total accident”.
“There was three or four Brisbane players who said it to me at the time, including Karmichael Hunt,” Gallen said.
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett said Gallen was a player who played tough and sometimes tackled a little high.
Asked if Gallen deserved a suspension, Bennett said: “It’s not my call, that’s up to the judiciary.”
Brisbane utility Greg Eastwood turned in his best game of the season with some strong defence and also came up with the match-winning try in the 72nd minute.
“It was my best game of the season for sure,” said Eastwood who believes keeping his weight below 110kgs is the secret to playing well.
“I want to play for New Zealand in the World Cup and after a rev up from Wayne (Bennett) through to week I wanted to go out and play well tonight.”
Bennett praised Eastwood but felt veteran lock Tonie Carroll had been outstanding, returning to his damaging best with some rattling hits that softened up the Sharks.
“I thought TC was outstanding tonight,” said Bennett.
“The imposter that’s been in his jersey the last few weeks vanished and the real TC turned up tonight.”
Bennett said he was pleased with the improved effort after putting a rocket up his players last week.
“Cronulla are a tough footy team, they don’t give you much,” he said
Captain Darren Lockyer finished the game with mild concussion after an accidental head clash with teammate Denan Kemp in the 66th minute.
Stuart said Cronulla felt they could still win at half-time but let in some soft tries.
“There’s no reason why we can’t beat them if we meet them again,” he said.
Gallen said he was proud of his players refusal to quit.
“I was proud of the effort of the boys, especially at the end in those last couple of minutes, they never gave up,” he said.
“With Lockyer steering the ship they were just too good.”