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A barnstorming 19-minute stint from interchange prop Royce Hunt inspired the Sharks to a stunning 22-12 triumph against the Broncos that reinforced their premiership credentials.

Hunt came off the bench just before halftime with his side trailing 12-4 and lifted his team with a number of charging runs and bone-rattling tackles that forced errors as Cronulla took charge after the interval.

The Samoan international ran 78 metres with five carries of the ball and produced six tackle breaks before returning for another five-minute stint at the end of the game.

The dominant second half performance, in which the Sharks scored an unanswered 22 points, was the response coach Craig Fitzgibbon was looking for after a 42-0 loss to Penrith and 34-22 defeat by Parramatta.

Kennedy and Trindall combine to stop flying Mariner

The win was even more impressive given that Cronulla were without NSW halfback Nicho Hynes, who was rested due to a nagging calf injury.

Sharks captain Cameron McInnes produced his usual high work-rate after backing up from Origin, while centre Jesse Ramien and utility Siosifa Talakai pressed their claims to join him in the Blues side for Origin II.

Cronulla remain in second place while the Broncos could drop out of the top eight if Manly beat Penrith on Sunday and Canterbury down Parramatta on Monday after surrendering halftime leads in back-to-back losses to the Titans and Sharks

Kotoni Staggs began his audition for a NSW Origin recall in impressive fashion when he accepted an offload from Jordan Riki and raced into the clear.

With Staggs producing a quick play the ball, Broncos hooker Billy Walters raced out of dummy half and ran 30 metres before passing to Pat Carrigan for his third NRL try and just the first of the season in the 12th minute.

Patrick Carrigan Try

The Sharks hit back in spectacular fashion when halfback Braydon Trindall managed to offload near Brisbane's line and quick hands by McInnes and Will Kennedy enabled Talakai to score in the 18th minute.

Siosifa Talakai Try

The Broncos went to halftime leading 12-4 after Jock Madden regathered his own grubber kick and put interchange hooker Tyson Smoothy over in the 33rd minute.

The Sharks showed their intent at the start of the second half when Hunt tackled Fletcher Baker near his own tryline from the kick off and a fumbled kick from Tristan Sailor offered a scoring opportunity.

From the scrum win, Cronulla winger Sione Katoa beat Selwyn Cobbo and carried Ezra Mam over the tryline to score in the 43rd minute.

The Sharks hit the front for the first time when Trindall dummied past Brisbane second-rower Brendan Piakura to score in the 48th minute after Kayal Iro knocked the ball loose from the grasp of Staggs.

Braydon Trindall Try

Blayke Brailey extended the lead just two minutes later after Talakai swooped on another fumble by Sailor near the Broncos line and passed to the Cronulla hooker.  

Trindall missed a 64th minute penalty goal attempt that would have put the Sharks ahead by two converted tries.

Brisbane had a late chance when speedster Deine Mariner raced into the clear but Kennedy and Trindall bundled him into touch to keep the Broncos scoreless in the second half. 

Match snapshot

  • Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs left the field in the second half with a knee injury but returned five minutes later.
  • Sharks captain Cameron McInnes ran 160m with the ball and made 34 tackles in an ironman performance after backing up from Origin.
  • Cronulla's outside backs Sione Katoa (158m), Kayal Iro (183m), Jesse Ramien (190m) and Ronaldo Mulitalo (183m) all ran more than 150m with the ball, while fullback Will Kennedy ran 134m.
  • Patrick Carrigan (149m) and Corey Jensen (112m) were the only Broncos forwards to carry the ball more than 100m. Carrigan, who was backing up from Origin, also topped the tackle count after making 48 tackles. 
  • Sharks winger Ronaldo Mulitalo made his 100th NRL appearance.

Tempers flare at Suncorp

Play of the game

Tongan winger Sione Katoa kick-started Cronulla's second half fightback with a solo try from a scrum win near the Brisbane tryline in which he took on and beat Queensland Origin hero Selwyn Cobbo before carrying Ezra Mam over the tryline.

Sione Katoa Try

What they said

"I thought it was a great game, lots of periods of end to end footy, set for set footy and keeping it alive. They were coming after us and we were going after them, so they are the sort of battles you want to get into and come out on the right side of. The second half was strong. Royce sparked an energy shift for sure, but I thought everyone out there got their job done," - Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon.

Sharks: Round 14

"It was just really poor, probably our worst half of football this season, and I'd say our first 40 minutes, discipline wise, was our best half. I thought we defended really well, our tryline defence was good and we picked up a couple of tries. Our first set in the second half was poor with the ball and it just got worse from there. We'll have to have a look at everything that we're doing, but ... the answer is that they can play better and stick to our plans. The opposition doesn't always allow that to happen when you continue to make errors like we did and opened the door up for the Sharks." - Broncos coach Kevin Walters.

Broncos: Round 14

What's next 

The Broncos travel to Sydney to meet the Rabbitohs next Friday night before a bye and matches against the Warriors, Panthers and Dragons during the remainder of the Origin period.

Reece Walsh is again unavailable for the match against Souths due to the NRL's concussion protocols, but forward Xavier Willison is expected to return after missing the Round 14 clash due to the birth of his first child.

Walters insisted that the injuries that forced Kotoni Staggs and Jordan Riki from the field would not keep them out of the match against Souths, with both returning to finish the match. 

The Sharks host the Dolphins on Thursday night before a Round 16 bye followed by matches against the Bulldogs (away), Titans (home) and Wests Tigers (home), and another bye in Round 20.

NSW halfback Nicho Hynes is expected to play against the Dolphins after being rested from the trip to Brisbane due to his Origin performance last Wednesday night and a niggling calf injury.

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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