Cronulla NRL coach Peter Sharp says the Sharks have hope with Jeff Robson providing the perfect foil for Todd Carney.
Two halves make more than a whole for Cronulla – in coach Peter Sharp’s eyes, they add up to two NRL premiership points.
After five straight losses and 324 scoreless minutes, Friday night’s reunion of playmakers Todd Carney and Jeff Robson broke the drought for the Sharks.
Veteran halfback Robson returned from a lingering calf problem at Suncorp Stadium to provide the perfect foil for star five-eighth Carney to show his class in a miraculous comeback over Brisbane.
Down 22-0 with 27 minutes left, the competition’s worst attacking team since the 1996 South Queensland Crushers finally hit their straps for four tries and a 24-22 upset.
It had been 41 days since the Sharks had scored a point while, at the same time, conceding 108.
But with injury-plagued halves Robson and Carney starting together, Cronulla showed some hope remained in the Shire.
While captain Paul Gallen’s leadership gained big plaudits, Sharp said having the two halves back together made an enormous difference.
“I know everybody thinks it’s an excuse, and it is, but they have hardly trained together in 10 weeks,” he said.
“Robbo just has a great influence on Todd around the park, steadies him down and gives him direction.
“It allows Todd to play his natural game.
“To have them both back and training will be a massive bonus for us.”
Carney, who had missed five games with a hamstring strain, agreed the 31-year-old was a major figure.
“He can take the control and I can play on the back of it,” he told NRL.com. “It’s good for us and I think the whole team gets confidence off that, not just me.”
Gallen played down the furore over last weekend’s radio comments that he felt Sharp hadn’t been putting in 100 per cent.
“We were over it Monday morning,” the skipper said. “We’re adults and, every now and then, adults don’t see eye to eye but we sorted it out pretty quick.”
Instead, Sharp was full of praise for the NSW lock’s leadership this week.
“He really led from the front in all areas and it was magnificent,” he said. “That’s what great players do.”
For the stunned Broncos, coach Anthony Griffin hoped the gutting loss – the fourth this season after surrendering a late lead – wouldn’t cost them at finals time.
“It could. But it could also, as did a couple of losses earlier in the year, be a catalyst to playing the football we have over the last six weeks.”