BRISBANE captain Alex Glenn couldn't remember even seeing a try from a scrum against the feed, let alone scoring one. ''My first ever,'' he said after Cronulla's bruising first win at Suncorp Stadium in eight years last night.
With nine Origin stars - including seven Broncos - watching on television, they could have been forgiven for thinking they were watching replays from any one of four decades as round 17 kicked off. A fullback smashed in-goal, seemingly conceding a try, straight out of the 1970s.
A ball passed in-goal by a jittery winger, a la Phil Duke in the 80s. A player tackled on the ground by a flying opponent who did plenty of damage to himself, a la Brad Fittler and Richard Villasanti a decade ago.
And a scrum against the feed, resulting in a try. ''I was surprised when the ball popped up right in front of me'' New Zealand international Glenn said. ''Then I looked up and there was a gap. I was trying to make the most of the opportunities.''
Josh Hoffman was smashed in his own in-goal by Cronulla lock Wade Graham in the first half, the Brisbane custodian spilling the ball for Matthew Wright to dive on it to claim a try. Referee Gavin Badger pointed to the spot and, replays strongly suggested, blew the whistle.
But then we were jolted back into 2012. Video referee Bernard Sutton had a word in Badger's ear, the try was disallowed and replays resulted in a penalty to Brisbane. "Contact was with the shoulder to the head, it's on report," Badger told indignant Sharks forwards Jeremy Smith and Bryce Gibbs. "You can't make any contact with the head."
At the time, the 20th minute, the Sharks led 16-0. In the corresponding game last year, they trailed 20-0.
The Sharks' eventual win was largely down to having more experience than Brisbane, who were missing seven Origin representatives.
After the Hoffman decision, Cronulla almost conceded a try immediately when Brisbane's Jack Reed was held up. As it was, the Sharks battled on until Broncos replacement Aaron Whitchcurch crossed in the 32nd minute and Peter Wallace converted from the sideline.
Not even Brisbane were completely pleased with the way the Hoffman incident was officiated upon. Because they did not immediately replace him, they were denied the free interchange they would normally be entitled to when an opponent is placed on report.
As for Cronulla, their frustration bubbled to the surface again when Graham flattened Gerard Beale in similar circumstances.
Brisbane lost Reed to a suspected broken leg at half-time but still managed to narrow the margin further when - in a major rarity - the Broncos won a scrum against the feed 20 metres out and Glenn powered over.
The Broncos, badly outgunned in the first 20 minutes, had all the running. But with 24 minutes left, Sharks winger Nathan Stapleton snatched a Peter Wallace pass out of the air and raced 90 metres to score. For the Baby Broncos, it was just about bed time.
Earlier, a dangerous Graham held up a pass beautifully for centre Colin Best to score from close range in the seventh minute. When Hoffman failed to take Chad Townsend's kick in the 12th minute, Graham was on hand for a try approved by Sutton.
Another Townsend kick evaded the obstructed Reed at 16 minutes, with centre Ben Pomeroy coming up with the pill and planting it in the corner.
Shortly after half-time, Cronulla captain Smith became the second player of the evening to be booked, for raising a forearm.
It was Stapleton who attempted the Duke-esque pass in the in-goal, shortly after his decisive try. Best iced the victory with three minutes left after a mix-up at the back between Lachlan Maranta and Brendan Gibb.
CRONULLA 26 (C Best 2 W Graham B Pomeroy N Stapleton tries C Townsend 3 goals) bt BRISBANE 12 (A Whitchurch A Glenn tries P Wallace 2 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Referees: G Badger/J Robinson. Crowd: 26,268.