Cronulla were left to consider what they might have done. (Getty Images)
Cronulla were left to consider what they might have done. (Getty Images)

Sharks fuming after Broncos loss

CRONULLA coach Shane Flanagan walked away from Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday night a frustrated man.

Flanagan was not only annoyed about his side's substandard handling, but a crucial call that cost the Sharks in a close loss to Brisbane.

The Sharks mentor believes Darius Boyd's pass for the Broncos' match-winning try to Corey Oates was forward.

"Passes can travel forward, but that Boyd pass to Oates travelled five metres," Flanagan fired.

"So, wow, that is all I can say on that one.

"We measured where he (Darius) passed it on the line and where he received it was five metres in front of him.

"That is a long way."

Paul Gallen is wrapped up by the Broncos. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)
Paul Gallen is wrapped up by the Broncos. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

While on the referees, Flanagan revealed he received a phone call from referee's boss Bernard Sutton on Friday to clarify NRL CEO Todd Greenberg's comments urging the officials to reduce nit-picking penalties.

"I found it amazing that the referee's boss was ringing me on a Friday before the game explaining the CEO's comments," he said.

"At this stage of the year it is going to change and they are not going to give nit-picking penalties.

"Work that one out. There was definitely one of those today on Matty Prior, but I just thought it was strange that the referee's boss was ringing coaches the day before the game."

Wade Graham of the Sharks makes a break to score. (Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)
Wade Graham of the Sharks makes a break to score. (Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Flanagan said he was clear on the referee's plan, but conceded the Sharks couldn't blame the officials for the loss.

It's fair to say Cronulla can't win the competition if their ball control remains this substandard.

The Sharks bombed three try scoring opportunities and Flanagan knows his side must be better.

"We beat ourselves," he said.

"We had 11 errors in the first half. We showed some fight in the second half to give ourselves a chance of winning it, but in the end we needed to be better in the first half.

"But it proves to me we can beat teams like that if we play anywhere near our best."

Anthony Milford finally turned up for the Broncos. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)
Anthony Milford finally turned up for the Broncos. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

Cronulla were flat, error-riddled and ill-disciplined in the opening 60 minutes to trail 16-4.

Enter James Segeyaro.

The proud PNG-born hooker ignited the Sharks with a potent 30-metre surge to pave the way for a Ricky Leutele try, before setting up Wade Graham for the match leveller.

Then heartbreak hit.

Oates scored a brilliant mid-air try in the western corner with 10 minutes remaining to give the Broncos the lead.

Corey Oates pulls off the spectacular. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)
Corey Oates pulls off the spectacular. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

The Sharks were then controversially denied vital field territory in the closing minutes when it appeared Broncos fullback Darius Boyd had knocked on.

In the end, though, no call was made by the match officials as Brisbane held on to record a close victory.

Cronulla may have been courageous in fighting back, but Brisbane deserve praise for a gutsy away win.

A return to form from million dollar man Anthony Milford helped the Broncos put a dent in Cronulla's premiership credentials.

Milford scored a mesmerising solo try in the first half, while he controlled proceedings with a pinpoint kicking game.

The Broncos fought hard for this win. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)
The Broncos fought hard for this win. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

But it was Oates' freakish skills that got Brisbane home.

The former Queensland Origin winger scored one of the tries of the season with a brilliant acrobatic leap to score while his legs were airborne.

Brisbane's win also came on a night when Broncos coaching candidate

No way through for Andrew Fifita. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)
No way through for Andrew Fifita. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

Craig Bellamy agreed to a three-year contract extension with Melbourne worth $5.1 million.

 

Bennett is contracted until the end of 2019, but he revealed he has formulated a pitch to remain at the Broncos beyond his current deal.

Full-time BRISBANE 20 (A Milford C Oates T Pangai Junior tries J Isaako 4 goals) bt CRONULLA 16 (W Graham R Leutele J Ramien tries C Townsend 2 goals) at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Referee: Matt Cecchin, Matt Noyen. Crowd: 14,587.