Broncos do it the hard way to outlast Sharks
THE Broncos have sent a strong warning to the rest of the competition after they fought their way to a 12-10 victory over the Sharks to keep their top four hopes alive.
In yet another chapter for Brisbane's rollercoaster ride of a season, the Broncos managed to notch up a much-needed win in the race to September, with the nailbiting showdown at Suncorp Stadium.
It was a Jordan Kahu penalty goal in the 48th minute that ultimately sealed the deal for Brisbane, who now move into sixth spot on the NRL ladder.
But, in yet another week dominated by Wayne Bennett's coaching future, it was their pure desperation and fight that really saw them walk away as the victors over the equally hungry Sharks.
Bennett last week refused to get too excited by Brisbane's 50-18 victory over Penrith.
And in this match it was clear why.
It was a gritty showdown, certainly not always pretty and definitely not an easy victory.
Both teams let a number of opportunities go begging through ill-discipline while the defence across the park was desperate as they tried to cover for their respective mistakes.
Brisbane's struggles to close out the game were highlighted just after the midway point of the second half when they were handed back-to-back sets on Cronulla's tryline.
But despite their errors, it was the kind of close game that is expected of two top four contenders.
Bennett said it was one of most resilient performances the Broncos have shown this year, particularly after a tough period in which they faced three top eight teams in the space of 12 days.
"I was pleased with our defence all night," he said.
"I'm always confident … I never lack confidence in the Broncos.
"It was certainly the gutsiest win of the year. We stayed with them and showed a lot of character and didn't panic.
"That's our third game in 12 days and they've all been top eight teams."
Bennett also gave an update on his future, revealing he had spoken to Broncos chairman Karl Morris and they had agreed there would be no further discussions around the coaching until the end of the season.
"I've been talking with the chairman and we've decided we're not going to make any decision about coaching at the Broncos until the end of the football season," Bennett said.
"We agree with that position. From our point of view, that's where it sits.
"If (media) want to ask questions, you're just going to get 'no comment' because we don't have any comment about it until the board meets in October."
The last 20 minutes were thrilling as both sides searched for more points.
Brisbane's struggles were highlighted just after the midway point of the second half when they were handed back-to-back sets on Cronulla's tryline.
They fought hard but could not make the most of their momentum, with centre James Roberts knocking on when Brisbane looked ready to strike.
The Sharks endured a similar period just minutes out from full-time.
It was a seesawing clash and it summed up what was a scrappy display from both sides, with 25 errors made across the park - 14 of which were Brisbane's alone.
But the Broncos proved too strong in the end.
In a blow to Brisbane's hopes of a top four finish however, veteran forward Alex Glenn suffered a suspected broken hand late in the first half.
He tried to play on but eventually left the field and was taken to hospital at halftime for scans on the suspected break.
It's a huge blow given Brisbane's forward depth is already suffering and it is unclear whether fellow backrower Matt Gillett (neck and calf) will return this year.
With Jaydn Su'A (broken ankle) and Payne Haas (shoulder) also sidelined, Brisbane cannot afford anymore injuries to their pack and will have to weigh up their options ahead of Thursday's meeting with the Bulldogs.
BRISBANE 12 (M Lodge C Oates tries J Kahu 2 goals) bt CRONULLA 10 (V Holmes 2 tries C Townsend goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Grant Atkins, Matt Noyen. Crowd: 22,859