Corey Oates has produced one of the most incredible groundings imaginable to hand the Broncos a late 20-16 win over the Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday night.
The Sharks hit back from 16-4 down to level the scores with two tries in three minutes midway through the second half before the piece of Oates magic proved the difference.
The 69th minute grounding came after the bullocking winger received a long cut out from skipper Darius Boyd and, under heavy attention from Jesse Ramien, somehow twisted his body to plant the ball just inside the chalk behind his back with his whole body suspended outside the field of play.
Cronulla had to overcome a shocking first half completion rate and a Brisbane side that scored twice in the opening seven minutes in order to make a game of it, with bench hooker James Segeyaro proving critical and threatening to blow the game open in the second half.
For Brisbane, playmaker Kodi Nikorima had one of his best games of the year while bench forward Joe Ofahengaue pressed his Origin claims with a powerful stint.
Tevita Pangai junior will need to be assessed for a rib injury that ended his night early while Luke Lewis is likely to miss more footy after another calf injury.
Match: Sharks v Broncos
Round 15 -
Venue: Southern Cross Group Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Brisbane got off to the best possible start, scoring within seconds of their first touch when Pangai jnr charged down a Chad Townsend kick to score after barely a minute of play.
The Broncos were ahead of the clock when Anthony Milford stepped through a few defenders to score in just the seventh minute.
The momentum swing came in the 12th minute when Sharks flyer Sione Katoa latched onto a Brisbane cross-field bomb and broke into space. Milford managed to chase him down 70 metres closer to the Brisbane line but got sin-binned for staying too long on the tackle.
Cronulla only managed a single try during the sin bin period which came courtesy of a slick tap-on from Val Holmes for Jesse Ramien to score in a fifth successive game.
Brisbane edged further ahead via a penalty goal and the Sharks lost a possible try to Katoa when Luke Lewis was found to have obstructed Milford in the lead up, leaving the margin at 14-4 to the visitors at the break.
Brisbane had just a single incomplete set in the opening half while the Sharks were completing at under 60 per cent however the visitors came up with errors in their opening two sets of the second stanza to set the tone for a Cronulla revival.
Cronulla produced a couple of line breaks that did not lead to points and Luke Lewis almost scored in the corner but strained a calf in the process and was taken from the field.
Brisbane stretched their lead to 12 midway through the half off another penalty goal but it was the injection of James Segeyaro in the 54th minute which proved telling. The former Cowboy and Panther terrorised the Sharks through the middle, making and creating breaks and chances.
His line break set the team on the attack for Ricky Leutele's 60th minute try and he threw a beautiful inside ball for Wade Graham to score off a nice angled run in the 63rd and in the blink of an eye Cronulla had levelled at 16-16.
Brisbane regained the ascendancy through Oates's stunning put down in a miraculous piece of finishing to rival what Dragons winger Nene Macdonald produced at the same ground back in round two.
The Sharks threw plenty of attack at Brisbane in the final 10 minutes but could not crack the line. The crucial result keeps Brisbane level with Cronulla, who could have otherwise opened up a four-point buffer on the eighth-placed Broncos.
News and Notes: Anthony Milford sin binned in 7th minute... Tevita Pangai jnr suffered a rib injury and Luke Lewis a calf strain...Brisbane captain Darius Boyd's 150th game for the club... next round Broncos at home to Canberra... Sharks play Warriors in Auckland in round 16... Crowd: 14,587.