A combination of some determined Brisbane goal line defence, a handful of contentious decisions and a number of missed opportunities from the Sharks has seen the Broncos escape with a 12-10 win at Suncorp Stadium.
Down by two in the closing moments the Sharks threw wave after wave of attack at the Broncos line but couldn't manage to cross for the winning points.
With a disallowed try, a conversion miss from close range and few big calls that went the way of the Broncos, it was a disappointing outcome for the Sharks who dominated field position for large periods late in the match but couldn't deliver the killer blow.
After two penalties in succession the first scoring opportunity went the way of the home team however a poor Anthony Milford pass let the Sharks off the hook.
With the Sharks working their way into an attacking position the opening points would come a short time later but not in the way it many may have been expected, when against the run of play Darius Boyd intercepted a Matt Moylan pass, before finding Corey Oates in support, with the lanky winger dashing the last 40-metres to score.
Jordan Kahu was unable to convert but it was 4-0 Brisbane some 15 minutes into the match.
The Sharks responded and it came from a predictable source, Valentine Holmes crossing for his 16th of the year in finishing off a frantic movement which was started by Sione Katoa, who offloaded to Jayden Brailey, the ball hit the ground, Paul Gallen picked it up, tipped onto Scott Sorensen, Andrew Fifita handled, before Holmes backed up on the inside to touch down.
Townsend was able to add the extras and the Sharks led 6-4.
With defence dominating neither team was able to add to their tally for the following 10 minutes however the next points would come after a contentious play the ball penalty was awarded to Kahu, with prop Matt Lodge crashing through some soft Sharks goal line defence just three tackles later.
This time the kick at goal was on target and the Broncos led 10-6.
The Sharks would have the better of the final period of the half, Ricky Leutele desperately unlucky not to score when it was ruled he was held up over the line after a smart short side play from Holmes. Despite the on-fied referee saying try, the bunker official controversially decided there was enough evidence to overrule and deny the Sharks the points.
As a result the Sharks couldn't add to their total and Brisbane would go to the break up by four.
The second half began in the perfect fashion for the Sharks and it was Holmes again touching down, this time the fullback backing up a clever James Segeyaro line break before running 20-metres untouched.
Inexplicably the simple kick at goal bounced off the left upright and the scores were level at 10-all.
Brisbane would go back in front courtesy of a Kahu penalty goal, giving the Broncos a two point lead with still more than 25 minutes of the match remaining.
The Sharks were forced to defend a number of repeat sets on their goal line, one after an awful decision against Moylan when it was ruled he tackled Jamayne Isaako in the air despite the fact the five eighth had eyes only for the ball, but they held firm before wrestling back the momentum and working their way into an attacking zone.
Brisbane were desperate, the Cronulla side taking a few options they would probably like to have back, but in the final wash up the Sharks couldn't get across the line and the Broncos would take the points.
In taking positives from the loss, one Brisbane try came from an intercept, with the Sharks creating the better chances on the night, they will also be encouraged by the fact they have Wade Graham and Josh Dugan to return in the run through to the finals.
Holmes also goes to the top of the NRL try scorers list, with his double taking his tally to 17 on the season, just two points shy of the club record he jointly holds with David Peachey.
The Sharks remain in fifth position on the ladder despite the loss, however will likely need to win their final five games to push up into the top four. Their next assignment is against the Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Valentine Holmes 2 tries, Chad Townsend goal
Corey Oates, Matt Lodge try, Jordan Kahu 2 goals