Broncos surge past lacklustre Bulldogs
CRONULLA coach Shane Flanagan has hinted he isn’t expecting to have an answer on Cooper Cronk’s potential future at the club until the end of the NRL season.
Flanagan has previously expressed an interest in landing the star Melbourne, Queensland and Kangaroos playmaker if he decides to play on next season in Sydney.
The Sharks coach has been clear that would allow NSW State of Origin five- eighth James Maloney to chase more money elsewhere.
But Flanagan suggested yesterday he is prepared to wait the playmaking merrygo- round out, as he said Maloney’s future was unlikely to be clear until the end of this year’s finals series.
“Probably nothing will be decided until the end of the year, and that’s how we’re treating it,” Flanagan said.
“As far as we’re concerned he’s here for the rest of the year, we’ve chatted with Jimmy and his focus is to have a good last seven weeks and get us into the semi- finals.”
Cronk had previously declared he would wait until after the Origin series before making a call on whether he would play on in 2018, and who with. However if he too waits until after the season is over, it could mean he will play his last game for Melbourne without any confirmation if he will play in the NRL again.
Regardless, Flanagan reaffirmed his desire for Cronulla to be Cronk’s new home.
“There’s another 15 clubs that would like to have him so we’re no different,” Flanagan said. “If he does become available and he’s going to live in Sydney, I would like to think that we are going to consider him. But in our minds Jimmy is here for this year and next year.” THE Broncos sounded premiership bells after rocketing into second spot on the NRL ladder and ending Canterbury’s season with a 42- 12 dismantling of the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium last night.
The 30- point drubbing flattered the Broncos in some ways, given Canterbury’s ineptness, as the pressure mounted on under- siege Bulldogs coach Des Hasler.
Regardless, it was a win Brisbane desperately needed to stay in the all- important top four as they look to snap a 10- year title drought. The Broncos have won four of their past five matches and will welcome back captain Darius Boyd for next Friday’s clash against the Eels in Sydney.
Boyd’s injection into Brisbane’s clunky playmaking department will be welcome after he missed four matches with a broken thumb.
While Kodi Nikorima did little wrong in his first game at fullback, the Broncos will be a formidable outfit heading into September with Boyd back in the mix and Anthony Milford returning to full fitness.
In his second game back from a shoulder injury, Milford was rested with 15 minutes to go after Brisbane bolted out to a 36- 6 lead with three quick tries in the second half.
Brisbane’s seven- minute blitz followed an uninspiring first half where the Broncos could have considered themselves lucky to have a 10- point lead.
For most of the first half the Broncos attempted trick shots rather than building any form of pressure and looked lethargic when Bulldogs winger Marcelo Montoya crossed out wide.
Canterbury had all the running before Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough produced an opportunistic break for Newcastle- bound Tautau Moga to score. Ben Hunt backed himself with a 20m solo effort before Jordan Kahu scored right on the halftime siren to give Brisbane an unlikely 16- 6 lead, the last try popping any bubble the Bulldogs had brought into the game.
Poor scrum defence by the Bulldogs allowed Nikorima to score, Josh McGuire pounced on a McCullough grubber and James “The Jet” Roberts sliced through when Canterbury had given up to effectively decide the result. Moga racked up 155m in an impressive display while Roberts scored his second on the stroke of fulltime.
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