Jake Turpin celebrates scoring the match-winning try. Picture: AAP
Jake Turpin celebrates scoring the match-winning try. Picture: AAP

Baby Broncos buck Sharks in last-gasp thriller

Is this the win that resuscitates Brisbane's season? Blooding three debutants, the Broncos scored one of the most famous wins in the club's history against Cronulla at Shark Park.

It was a valiant effort in front of 10,964 fans for the inexperienced Broncos side, which featured three debutants, including 18-year-old Xavier Coates.

The Broncos at one stage trailed by 10 points as Cronulla threatened to pile on the points in the second half but Brisbane's wrecking ball Pangai Jr steamrolled his way towards the tryline in the 75th minute and provided an offload to fellow rookie Turpin who crossed the line and sealed the win.

 

It meant Brisbane avoided a fourth straight defeat and made sure they didn't notch up their worst win rate in club history.

However, the victory was marred by the loss of their third-string halfback Sean O'Sullivan in what will prove to be a serious test of their playmaker depth.

Following the loss of million-dollar man Anthony Milford and highly touted youngster Tom Dearden, Seibold is now without any of his starting playmakers after Sean O'Sullivan suffered a hamstring injury just before halftime.

A dislocated finger to centre Gehamat Shibasaki also compounded their win as they held off a second-half shark attack by Cronulla.

 

Tevita Pangai Junior was enormous for Brisbane. Picture: Getty
Tevita Pangai Junior was enormous for Brisbane. Picture: Getty

 

The win will be a huge boost for the club ahead of their run home, now playing six of their next at home and not leaving Queensland for two months.

The Broncos have come under heavy criticism for their recent form but going off in Sunday's win, it's a glimpse into the future of what coach Anthony Seibold is trying to build at Red Hill.

Three players made their club debut, including a star in the making Xavier Coates, in what was a gallant performance against the seventh placed Cronulla.

It was a new-look backline for Brisbane, with four players out on Origin duty and three out injured.

 

Xavier Coates scored on debut. Picture: AAP
Xavier Coates scored on debut. Picture: AAP

 

And it was a completely new-look performance as they found some much-needed form ahead of their run to the finals.

The Broncos changed their pre-game warm up, heading onto the field instead of running around in the sheds, and whether it was this or something else, they were able to fix their NSW hoodoo.

Brisbane's away record has been one of their pitfalls this season, losing six of seven away from Suncorp Stadium leading in to Sunday's match.

Another pitfall has been their first half performances, scoring the fewest points of any team (77) and conceding the fourth most (164).

And when they allowed Cronulla to post consecutive tries in the 14th and 18th minutes to take an 8-6 lead it seemed as if it was going to be a similar story.

The Broncos-of-old may well have dropped their heads, but last night's Baby Broncos stuck the heels in and came away with a crucial win.

Cronulla had an obvious game plan from the outset: bombard debutant Coates with the high ball.

But the 18-year-old did his best in a mixed evening for the rising star.

This time last year the young winger was playing in Queensland's Confraternity Shield tournament on a backfield in Charters Towers.

Last night, it looked as if he had been playing in the NRL all season, even opening the scoring with an incredible try.

The win sets up an epic clash at Suncorp Stadium against the Warriors on Saturday night.