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Sharks, Broncos suffer hit to NRL minor premiership chances

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Both the Cronulla Sharks and Brisbane Broncos suffered losses on Friday night in the NRL, further denting their chances of claiming the NRL minor premiership this year.

The Sharks squared off against 15th-placed Gold Coast Titans, and were upset 20-16.

Brisbane, meanwhile, went down to the Penrith Panthers for the second time this year. While they put up more resistance than their earlier 34-12 loss in March, the Panthers still prevailed 14-6 at Suncorp Stadium.

As a result, NRL bookmakers have lengthened Cronulla’s odds of finishing in top spot to $18, the fourth line of betting. Brisbane sit back in sixth place, but at an unlikely $276.

Alarm bells ringing in Broncos camp

Brisbane’s loss to Penrith was the club’s fifth straight loss, with the side now winless since mid-May.

They now sit in 10th place on the NRL ladder, and are in danger of missing the finals this year, despite being rated as second-favourites to win the title heading into the 2024 season.

Aussie commentator Paul Vautin shared his insights on the Broncos woes after the match.

“The worrying thing for Brisbane is the lack of points, averaging 13 the last three weeks in their losses, only six tonight and they did not look like scoring too many more,” he explained.

“But it seems now if Reece Walsh is not doing something, making breaks for the Broncos, that nothing is happening. Ezra Mam was quiet tonight.”

Walsh was impressive at times for the Broncos, breaking the game open with a searing run in the first half to set up his team’s first try.

Walters still confident Brisbane can revive season

Broncos’ coach Kevin Walters is not panicking yet, however, saying that there’s still time for the club to turn their season around.

“In my experience in rugby league, if you keep training well and turning up and putting in the effort we did tonight, it will turn,” Walters said in his post-match comments.

“I’ve been at clubs as a player and an assistant coach where we’ve lost five games in a row, I think the record at the Broncos is eight or nine, we don’t want to break that record.

“It’s just sticking together. We’ve got an Origin game to get through now as well, which is part of it, but once we get the crew back together, we’ll set sail for a strong finish to the season.

“It’s just not there for us at the moment.”

Brisbane still sit in the fourth line of betting to win the NRL outright this year ($11), behind the Panthers ($3), Roosters ($4.50) and Storm ($4.75).

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