Wade Graham

It was well and truly a baby Broncos side that we have seen in the past, but despite that, they could not get the job done, as the Cronulla Sharks were the eventual winners, in what was a physically demanding contest.

Without their two Origin stars in Paul Gallen and Todd Carney, it was an unheralded player who stepped up – with fill-in lock Wade Graham the standout performer for the Sharks in the game, with 1 try assist and a try.

The game went back and forth, as the Broncos fought back from 16-0 down at one stage to cut the deficit to just 4 – but it was not to be, as the Sharks scored 10 unanswered points after that, to win 26-12 in front of 26,268 fans at Suncorp Stadium.

The Sharks win may however be soured, with both Wade Graham and captain Jeremy Smith placed on report, for a shoulder charge making contact with the head and a stray elbow respectively.

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan defended both his players however, and thinks neither incident was overly troubling.

“No one wants to see anyone get injured but for me I thought it was a really good shot,” he said. “Wade went in there with the intent to put a good shot on him and no intent to hit him in the head.

“I just thought it was a good tackle, and Jeremy was put on report as well.

“He’s dived on a loose ball and put his arm up to protect himself.

“We’re trying to soften the game up. That’s happened forever and a day. There was no intent in that either.”

Alex Glenn, who was the fill-in skipper for the Broncos in the absence of Corey Parker – was pleased his side fought back, but disappointed that it was one pass that led to the Sharks intercept try, that changed their fortunes.

“It was a bit heart-breaking,” he said. “We had a lot of momentum and confidence before that intercept.”

For Broncos coach Anthony Griffin, he admitted that he was a bit disappointed with some of the decisions that his halves made, over the course of the game.

“The panic came from the guys you thought wouldn’t panic tonight – Wal and Corey took a few wrong options with the footy,” Griffin said.

By ricky

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