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Brisbane 22 Cronulla 24
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Sharks respond to Paul Gallen's criticism with stunning victory over Brisbane

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Paul Gallen said before kick-off he did not expect a positive backlash from his team-mates over his controversial comments five days earlier.

What he got, instead, was a miracle.

With 26 minutes remaining at Suncorp Stadium, a Sharks side that had not scored since mid-May trailed Brisbane 22-0

Four tries and 20 minutes later, they had a scarcely believable 24-22 lead which they clung to for their first win in six games.

Rookie Jacob Gagan's 55th-minute try was Cronulla's first in 324 minutes. They had to wait just three more minutes for their second.


Anthony Griffin's side established a commanding lead just after half-time when interchange forward David Hala arrowed at the legs of the goal-line defence and touched down for a try approved by video referees Jared Maxwell and Henry Perenara. Halfback Ben Hunt, outstanding in the first half, added the extras.

The Sharks had not scored since mid-May and for much of Friday night's game, it looked as if the drought might continue.

Even when Todd Carney's kick put Gagan over with 25 minutes left, all indications were that the drought-breaker would be a consolation effort.

In the 59th minute, captain Gallen - who had criticised the discipline of his teammates on radio five days earlier - powered over from close range.

And another six minutes elapsed before Gallen went close and halfback Carney crossed on the next tackle, one off the ruck.

With six minutes left, Bronco Dale Copley dropped a bomb, Sharks winger Sosaia Feki scored and Michael Gordon's conversion edged the underdogs In front.

Brisbane led 16-0 at the end of a first half Cronulla stared positively.

Second-rower Luke Lewis' start to the game was no so positive, however. He clashed heads with Broncos hooker Jake Granville, came off with concussion and returned only briefly.

During that time, the Australia international was involved in a dust-up with Justin Hodges but he soon began to feel after-effects of the earlier collision and came off again, with the Sharks announcing he would not return.

Hodges almost scored from his own kick in the 10th minute but passed to Wade Graham, who intercepted near the Cronulla line after apparently calling for he ball.

Peter Sharp's side put together some dazzling passing almost scored not long afterwards, with replacement Tinarau Arona hauled down short.

And Brisbane responded with their first try - Ben Hunt's cut-out pass putting winger Daniel Vidot over in the 15th minute, in the south-eastern corner.

The second try saw Hunt send Alex Glenn roaring through a gap in mid-field to score between the posts.

And it was Hunt again in the 35th minute, offloading near the tryline to replacement Hala, who did well to take a difficult pass before diving over.

Hunt landed two of his three first half conversion attempts.

CRONULLA 24 (T Carney S Feki J Gagan P Gallen tries M Gordon 4 goals) bt BRISBANE 22 (D Hala 2 A Glenn D Vidot tries B Hunt 3 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Gavin Badger, Adam Gee. Crowd: 24,825.