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Five Key Points - Sharks v Broncos

1 Completions the key
The forward pass which allowed Corey Oates to score the match-winner probably didn't help their cause, however Sharks coach Shane Flanagan refused to blame that incident for the loss to the Broncos on Saturday night.

As has been their downfall in a number of their losses so far this year, the Sharks were their own worst enemy, especially in the first half when they made far too many errors, while their opponents managed to complete at 94 per cent in taking a 14-4 lead to the break.

The Sharks fought back, even levelled up the contest when Wade Graham dived over late, before the Oates heroics tipped the ledger back in the favour of the visitors.

Completing at 69 per cent for the match, against a desperate and experienced team, wont get the job done, and that's the way the game panned out.

Completions are the key. Five Key Points has said it before, hold the ball and good things happen.

2 Chicko adds the spark
The two hooker rotation of Jayden Brailey and James Segeyaro has largely been a successful one, with the former solid, giving good service and excellent with his support play, while making all his tackles, before the later enters the game to provide the energy and spark when the big boys in the opposition pack begin to tire.

And it is a considerably more effective partnership when Segeyaro plays to the level he has both on Saturday night and over the past month.

Against the Broncos, Segeyaro entered the game with 26 minutes to go and in that time terrorised the Brisbane defence with his speed and evasion out of dummy half, amongst his highlights a line break and a perfectly timed inside pass for the Graham try, in what his coach described as a game changing performance.

It was exactly what Flanagan will be looking for in the weeks and months ahead from the PNG Kumuls number nine.

3 Skipper the rock on which success is built
If Segeyaro is the impact off the bench, skipper Paul Gallen is the rock upon which the Sharks build each game, with his age having no bearing on the quality of his performances each week.

The oldest player currently running around in the NRL at 37, Gallen got through 68 minutes on Saturday night, topping both the tackle count and the run metres for his team.

Gallen made 36 tackles, carried the ball 20 times for 190 metres and as he did in the win over the Tigers the previous week, tried his best to lift the team when it was most in need.

A late error certainly frustrated him, but otherwise it was another professional effort from the man around which much of the Sharks success is built.

4 Bad news on the injury front

Five Key Points last week praised the performances of up-and-comer Jack Williams, with the 2018 debutant starting to make his mark in the NRL.

Williams has been improving every week, earning more and more game time from coach Shane Flanagan and was beginning to have a considerable impact for the Sharks when coming off the bench.

However in a cruel blow, Williams suffered a pectoral injury late in the second half of the Broncos game, putting his 2018 season in doubt.

Scans have revealed the problem to be not quite as serious as first thought, although surgery will still be required, ruling Williams out for an extended period.

Just 21 years of age, Williams has plenty of football ahead of him and will bounce back from this untimely setback.

Still on the injury front, and concerning were the images of a distressed Luke Lewis limping from the field with another calf strain, to the opposite leg which saw him miss five games earlier in the season.

A time frame for his return has yet to be determined but again it is extremely unfortunate for Lewis who is an integral component of the Sharks side every time he takes to the field.

5 A long overdue call up

The Sharks have long known the value of Matt Prior and now his ability has been recognised by NSW coach Brad Fittler and his selection panel, with the 31-year-old earning a call up into the NSW Blues squad for State of Origin game two.

Prior rarely has a bad game, with the difference between his best and worst games minimal, while his high workload and uncompromising defence is just what NSW will be looking for as they hope to lock up the series in the second game next Sunday evening.

The joint Sharks Player of the Year (with Andrew Fifita) in the title-winning season of 2016, Prior owns two premiership rings and isn't one to be overawed by the big stage or the big occasion.

At time of Five Key Points writing, a decision as to whether he would make the final 17 had yet to be made, with Fittler naming 20 players on Saturday night, but if NSW are seeking the blue collar type, a player who will put his body in front and on the line, then Prior is their man.

His call-up to the representative arena is long overdue.

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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