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Broncos claim home final, Sharks continue winning streak

The Broncos posted a 48-16 victory over the Sea Eagles to wrap up a home final in the first week of the NRL play-offs, while the Sharks finished fourth on the ladder on the back of a 30-18 win over the Bulldogs.

The win left the Broncos sixth on the ladder and booked a date with the Dragons at Lang Park in the first week of the finals, while the Sharks meet minor premiers the Roosters, the Storm host the Rabbitohs and the Panthers play the Warriors.

NRL Finals: Week One

  • Storm (2) v Rabbitohs (3) at AAMI Park, Friday 7:40pm (AEST)
  • Panthers (5) v Warriors (8) at Olympic stadium, Saturday 5:30pm
  • Roosters (1) v Sharks (4) at Sydney Football Stadium, Saturday 7:40pm
  • Broncos (6) v Dragons (7) at Lang Park, Sunday 4:00pm

Broncos to host final after thrashing Sea Eagles

The Broncos celebrate a Corey Oates try.

A record-equalling four tries from winger Corey Oates has helped Brisbane grab sixth spot and a home final with a 48-16 win over Manly at Lang Park.

In what loomed as Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett's final game, Brisbane showed no mercy as Oates became the seventh Bronco in their 30-year club history to cross for four tries in front of 41,538 fans to put long suffering Manly fans out of their misery.

It was billed as ex-Test prop Sam Thaiday's final home game for Brisbane but the veteran will return to Lang Park on Sunday when the Broncos host St George Illawarra in an elimination final.

Oates got off the mark in just the second minute off an Anthony Milford grubber and had a double by the 26th when he flew high to intercept a Daly Cherry-Evans kick near his own line before galloping away to score.

External Link: Broncos v Sea Eagles summary

He grabbed a hat-trick by the 50th after five-eighth Milford collected a Manly kick near his own line and booted ahead for Oates to score.

Oates crashed over again in the 58th, joining Steve Renouf, Wendell Sailor, Karmichael Hunt, Justin Hodges, Denan Kemp and Israel Folau as the only Broncos to have bagged four in a game.

He thought he had an outright record fifth in the 79th but it was disallowed for off side.

External Link: Broncos v Sea Eagles chalkboard

Manly's woeful season is finally over and it appears Barrett's time at the helm will come to an end after a public fall-out with management.

His assistant John Cartwright is tipped to take over the reins.

External Link: Broncos v Sea Eagles stats

Not much had gone right for the hapless Sea Eagles this year and the script did not change on Sunday when full-back Tom Trbojevic came off concussed in the 30th minute after copping a stray knee in a tackle from Brisbane's Joe Ofahengaue.

Brisbane was forced into a last-minute reshuffle after losing back rower Alex Glenn (calf) before kick-off, pushing young gun David Fifita into the starting pack.

Test lock Josh McGuire started at hooker for Andrew McCullough (concussion).

The Broncos led 20-10 at half-time.

Sharks warm up for finals with Bulldogs victory

Andrew Fifita carrying the ball as he is tackled by Josh Morris.

Cronulla star Valentine Holmes will enter the finals as arguably the hottest player in the NRL after spearheading the Sharks to a 30-18 win over Canterbury at Sydney's Olympic stadium.

Holmes scored a try and set up three others on Sunday to continue an impressive run of form that has coincided with the Sharks ending the regular season with a four-match winning streak.

No other finals contenders have more confidence than the 2016 champions, who will face minor premiers the Sydney Roosters in next week's qualifying final.

Holmes also had two line-break assists and ran for more than 100 metres.

External Link: Bulldogs v Sharks summary

The Bulldogs showed plenty of bite to stay within striking distance for most of the contest, led by Will Hopoate's 218 run metres, 12 tackle busts and try.

But Holmes had an answer for every Bulldogs attack.

The Queensland State of Origin representative set up the opener for Luke Capewell, and replied to back-to-back Bulldogs tries by sending Sosaia Feki over just before half-time.

Holmes did it himself moments after the break to score his 21st try of the season – a career-high – and pull within one of the league's top try scorer David Fusitu'a.

External Link: Bulldogs v Sharks chalkboard

And when the Bulldogs threatened again by pulling within six, this time through Brett Morris's 53rd minute posting, it was none other than Holmes to keep the hosts at bay.

On play one off a scrum, the 23-year-old put Feki on the outside of his man and ensure the Sharks finished the season in fourth spot.

It initially looked as though the Bulldogs were in for a long day when Capewell, Andrew Fifita, and Josh Dugan all crossed inside the opening 22 minutes.

External Link: Bulldogs v Sharks stats

Fifita crashed over despite appearing to be advantaged by a hole created by Luke Lewis running into Lachlan Lewis.

The Bulldogs showed plenty of ticker to respond with the next two tries to Will Hopoate and Michael Lichaa but, led by Holmes, the Sharks held firm at every turn.

The defeat means the Bulldogs finish 12th in their first season under rookie coach Dean Pay, one spot below their 11th-placed ending under Des Hasler last year.

NRL ladder

External Link: NRL 2018 ladder

AAP/ABC

Original Article

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