Ruthless Broncos beat Sharks in NRL opener
Brisbane Broncos' attacking prowess proved to be too much for Cronulla Sharks to handle as the premiers suffered a 26-18 home defeat in the first game of the NRL season.
New Broncos captain Darius Boyd warned the appointment of Jason Demetriou as assistant coach can make the Broncos, who have a new-look backline, more potent in 2017 and the initial signs were encouraging at South Cross Group Stadium on Thursday.
Both sides returned home licking their wounds after World Club Challenge defeats in England and it was the Broncos who responded with a victory in the season-opener, as Boyd led by example.
Cronulla piled on the early pressure, but they were behind when the Broncos produced a counter-attack which resulted in Jordan Kahu taking a pass from Boyd to crash over for a try which he converted.
Gerard Beale, in at full-back with Valentine Holmes injured, rounded off a slick move with a converted try to bring the Sharks level 13 minutes in, but James Roberts showed a rapid turn of foot to dot down for a second Broncos try.
Kahu added the extras after also slotting over a penalty to put Wayne Bennett's men 14-6 up at half-time and they had breathing space when Corey Oates dived over to finish with one hand after collecting a pass from the influential Boyd.
The Sharks hit back with scores from James Maloney and Ricky Leutele to reduce the deficit to 20-18 with just under 20 minutes remaining, but the lively Anthony Milford demonstrated great strength and pace to touch down and Kahu took his tally to 14 points as the Broncos made an early statement.