Five Key Points – Sharks v Broncos
It was a tough night for the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium, with the home team running out convincing winners.
The Sharks tried hard but were at times their own worst enemies, with errors and a lack of discipline making it hard to mount any consistent pressure on their opponents.
A loss by the Eels in an earlier match helped in terms of the competition ladder, however the Sharks are now under pressure to perform in their remaining three games.
So what were the big moments, the game changers and the key points to come from the Broncos match.
1. Different day, same story
Unfortunately for much of the season it has been a similar story for the Sharks, with their discipline and errors making life difficult.
On occasion they have overcome the lack of ball security and lopsided penalty counts and managed to eke out a victory, but against the leading teams this task becomes more difficult.
Such was the case at Suncorp, with the Sharks completing at just 59 per cent with 16 errors, probably not good enough to win an under 15’s match, let alone a crucial NRL clash.
The Sharks have shown what they can do when possession weighs in their favour, remembering the Roosters win and the victory in Melbourne against the Storm.
They need to repeat those performances over the next three rounds if they hope to go into the finals with any sort of confidence and momentum.
2. One-on-one misses crucial
It’s no secret the Broncos have a number of outstanding attacking weapons, but it wasn’t really the razzle, dazzle that proved to be the Sharks downfall.
It had more to do with one-on-one misses that contributed to Bronco tries.
The first four-pointer from Matt Gillett came from a one-on-one miss, so did both Tautau Moga tries, uncharacteristic missed tackles from normally reliable defenders.
The Sharks also slipped off a number of tackles in the middle of the field, totaling 54 misses in all, which is far too many to win the big games.
Rated amongst the best defensive teams in the NRL the Sharks will need to fix this area of their game going forward and they’ll need to fix it quickly.
3. One shot, one opportunity
The Sharks were seemingly chasing their tail, or more specifically the Broncos, all evening, with the home team enjoying the better of field position for almost the entirety of the match.
The Sharks did get one shot, one opportunity when Brisbane winger Corey Oates turned the ball over from a Valentine Holmes kick just two minutes from half time.
And they took the chance handed to them, with Luke Lewis running a tough line onto a James Maloney pass to touch down adjacent to the posts.
The try and subsequent conversion made it 14-6 at half time and the Sharks fans had some hope.
It wasn’t to be, but the try certainly showed what might have been if the Sharks had enjoyed a better share of ball and more positive field position.
4. Big occasion, disappointing result
The occasion was Paul Gallen’s 300th NRL game and the Sharks were primed to make the night a memorable one for their inspirational skipper.
Gallen’s young son Cody presented him with his 300th jersey in an emotional pre-game ceremony, but from there it became a game that all concerned would probably prefer to forget.
As hard as he tried, with booing from a classless Brisbane crowd ringing in his ears at every touch of the ball, Gallen couldn’t lift his side to the victory they all craved, in what unfortunately followed a pattern for the Sharks Captain of the Half Century in milestone matches.
He lost his 100th, came second if you know what I mean in his 200th and now was on the losing side once again in the 300th.
If he makes it to 350 we might keep it a secret.
5. Holmes at home in Queensland
If there was one shining light coming from the Sharks effort it was the performance of fullback Valentine Holmes.
At the same venue where he would experience the euphoria of an Origin victory, Holmes looked determined to play well in front of a Queensland crowd and he didn’t disappoint.
Holmes ran the ball back at pace and threatened to break through with almost every touch, with his 223 metres the most by a player on the field, Broncos included.
Like his teammates he did make a couple of errors with the ball when the Sharks were chasing points late, but Holmes can hold his head up after a wholehearted effort.
Special mention also goes to Gerard Beale, who continued his recent solid form, scoring a try and like Holmes looking dangerous when returning the ball.