NRL Broncos beat grieving Sharks 16-12 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL Broncos beat grieving Sharks 16-12

By Adrian Proszenko 18/03/2006 09:49:09 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has hit out at criticism of Darren Lockyer after his side fought back to beat Cronulla 16-12 in a scrappy NRL clash at Toyota Park.

Bennett said the media was too quick to write off great players, comparing criticism of Lockyer to that levelled at Newcastle captain Andrew Johns when he returned from a long injury lay-off.

"Last season the flavour of the month was Joey Johns - you cane him to a man in the journalistic world, then he broke his jaw," Bennett said.

"In six months time he was a national hero again.

"I don't fear for Darren Lockyer, I don't fear for his future, because I know he can play. He's got a wonderful attitude and he's a great player.

"He had a tough time last weekend, a little bit today, but he's still not anywhere where he needs to go.

"The criticism and the finding faults - too quick."

Lockyer had an unhappy game in Brisbane's 36-4 loss to North Queensland last week, but the champion five-eighth was instrumental in snapping his side's eight-match losing streak on Saturday despite suffering a gash over his eye in the second half.

In a win which veteran prop Shane Webcke described as "more gritty than pretty", Lockyer set up two tries as the Broncos edged ahead late in the game.

The Sharks, who dedicated the night to club icon Steve Rogers, started quickly despite coming off the bye in round one.

An early try to five-eighth Adam Dykes and a 100-metre effort finished off by Albert had them leading 12-0 at halftime.

The Broncos hit back almost immediately after the break, reducing the gap to eight points through a Brad Thorn try.

They continued momentum through the second stanza, Webcke reducing the gap when he barged over in the 67th minute.

The visitors took the lead for the first time two minutes later when Casey McGuire finished a sensational long-range movement, which included two kicks ahead.

"Criticism goes with the territory these days," Bennett said of a disappointing end to last season.

"Sometimes people get a misconception that criticism helps you.

"We don't need someone to tell us we haven't played well and they don't need to be told that either, but that's part of the gig.

"We need to critique ourselves long before anybody else does."

Sharks coach Stuart Raper said his side coughed up too much ball.

"I think there were some real positives out there," he said.

"That's something we already talked about in the change rooms, not to get too negative or too down.

"It's only round two, we've got a lot to go. I thought we played some good footy and defended well."

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