Broncos v Sharks: Five key points

Nikorima's dream run at halfback continues, Sharks punished for errors and ill-discipline, Gallen has a forgettable 300th and Tautau Moga shines.

Nikorima unbeaten at halfback

Kodi Nikorima's breakout year continued on Friday night as he took his record to nine wins from nine matches when starting at halfback for the Broncos. The 23-year-old is high on confidence after being guaranteed Brisbane's No.7 jersey in 2018 and he is playing like it – taking the line on at every opportunity and improving his passing game with every match. With Ben Hunt shifting to hooker, Nikorima has taken control at halfback and he is a key reason for the Broncos climbing to second position on the ladder. He finished the night with the one try assist, but it was his work directing traffic that will really impress coach Wayne Bennett. 

Ill-discipline and errors cost Cronulla 

The Sharks arrived at Suncorp as the third-worst disciplined team in the competition and it did not take long for Shane Flanagan's men to live up to that record. Cronulla were simply their own worst enemy, giving away four penalties to one in the first 40 minutes – the first of which resulted in Brisbane's opening try. 

To makes things worse, the Sharks were full of errors from the get-go. Ball control is something Cronulla have struggled with all year, completing at just 75.5 per cent for the season. That is the fifth-worst completion rate in the competition and their 16 errors against the Broncos certainly did not help their cause. Brisbane made them pay like any good team would when taking on a team that completed at just 59 per cent for match.   

Maloney targeted during his return

Star Sharks five-eighth James Maloney made his return from a broken hand on Friday night and Brisbane were quick to exploit his defensive frailties. Even after missing two games with the hand injury, Maloney still went into the match second on the leaderboard for missed tackles with 88. He added seven to his tally in the first half, with the most costly miss resulting in a try to Matt Gillett. 

Maloney will be having nightmares about Gillett who ran at him time and time again. It clearly tired the Cronulla playmaker, and late in the first half Broncos fullback Darius Boyd managed to run around an exhausted Maloney and score Brisbane's second four-pointer of the night. Maloney finished the night with 10 missed tackles and the question has to be asked – was he fit to play? 

Hostile conditions for Gallen in his 300th

Make no mistake, former NSW Blues skipper Paul Gallen is still public enemy No.1 in Queensland. It may have been the Cronulla enforcer's 300th match, but there was no love shown by the Suncorp Stadium crowd who booed the 35-year-old every time he touched the ball. Brisbane and Maroons fans have very long memories and they were not about to forget the 24 games Gallen played for the Blues. The biggest cheer of the night came when Gallen knocked on early in the match, with Queenslanders rejoicing at the expense of the Sharks captain. 

Terrific Tautau

Tautau Moga has had plenty of critics during his short career at the Broncos, but the left centre silenced them all on Friday night with a barnstorming performance. What made his two-try haul even more remarkable is the fact he has had to endure three ACL injuries during his NRL career. 

Moga, who is off to the Newcastle Knights next year, was unstoppable as he bamboozled Cronulla's defence and terrorised opposite number Kurt Capewell all night. The 23-year-old scored the first double of his Brisbane career and ran for 200 hard metres – busting Cronulla's line open time and time again. Knights fans will be licking their lips at the prospect of this up-and-coming centre being at the club next year. He will be a big loss for the Broncos.