The last few weeks especially for Cronulla Sharks fans were not the best by any means. Going 322 minutes without scoring any point would have been weighing on their mind heading into the clash against the Brisbane Broncos.
Little did we know that the points would come and in a flurry. It was not all smooth sailing for the Sharks as they got off to a rather slow start, trailing by 16 points at the break and 22 points in the second half.
It seemed as if both the scoring drought and winless streak were going to continue, as the first-half was all about the Broncos execution and the Sharks not making the most of their opportunities.
Although the Sharks season has been a bad one, the players have always showed ticker and resolve and in a sign of resilience, they dug deep.
They dug deep to the point where they reversed the deficit in a remarkable comeback, leaving the Broncos stunned at the turnaround.
The first Sharks try gave them some confidence and momentum and as the old saying goes, ‘when it rains, it pours’, and gee whiz, did it pour!
The resiliency will give the Sharks a lot of confidence moving forward, especially with the emergence of young players like Jacob Gaga, Nu Brown and Michael Lichaa performing well.
Rugby league is all about time in possession and with the Sharks dominating in that regard in the second half, Broncos coach Anthony Griffin refused to use it as an excuse.
“A dumb penalty on the fifth play and a number of restarts and a couple of dropped bombs [meant] we just spent most of the last 25 minutes defending our line,” Griffin said.
“Possession and the bounce of the ball â€“ anything that could happen did in that last 25 minutes. Unfortunately we threw away a lot of our hard work from that first 55 minutes.
“We were obviously in control and I thought our attitude was really good. They took three sets to get their first try and we had one set in 15 minutes there at one stage.
Echoing the sentiments of his coach was club co-captain Justin Hodges, who lamented the lack of possession for the Broncos in the second half.
“Like ‘Hook’ said, in the last 25 minutes we didnâ€™t have the ball and they got all the bounces and they used their opportunities well,” Hodges said.
A man-of-the-match performance by five-eighth Todd Carney was the highlight but despite the win, the Sharks five-eighth admits that 2014 has been the toughest of his career.
“Last year we were winning and emotions in rugby league, when you’re winning, you’re always on a high,” Carney explained of the different emotional toll this year has taken.
“For me, it’s been probably my toughest year because I’ve been injured and I pride myself as a clubman and a person and for us to cop so much criticism for the way we’re playing, the ASADA stuff and this last few weeks, it’s hard.
“[The win over Brisbane] is definitely a turn in the right direction for the club and I feel it’s the turning point we needed and this week’s been a great week for the club.”
With an alleged spat between he and Sharks captain Paul Gallen, coach Peter Sharp was quick to praise the captain for his efforts in the win.
“I’ve got to say, the leadership shown by the captain this week was outstanding, from my point of view. He led from the front in all areas and it was magnificent. It’s what great players do and he did that this week for us,” Sharp said.
“The leadership through the week was enormous. How he conducted himself, how he spoke to [the players], how he ran things.”
3. Paul Gallen
2. Todd Carney
1. Ben Hunt