Can you hear that? It's the sound of Wayne Bennett's Broncos charging towards the premiership.

Brisbane has sounded an ominous warning to ladder leaders Melbourne, as two-try Tautau Moga and a hungry Broncos forward pack left Cronulla's title defence in tatters at Suncorp Stadium.

Before a crowd of 34,552, the Broncos juggernaut proved there is life without injured hooker Andrew McCullough, with a 32-10 drubbing of a Sharks side looking worryingly weary at the worst possible time.

It is the second time this season the Broncos have beaten the defending premiers. If the Roosters lose to Melbourne on Saturday night, Brisbane will officially finish the weekend in second spot on percentages, positioning them perfectly to snap an 11-year title drought.


The Storm are entitled to premiership favouritism, but on Friday night's evidence, three weeks before the playoffs, the Broncos are the real deal.

"I'm not thinking about winning the comp right now," Broncos coach Wayne Bennett said.
"If you go through the next two or three weeks without a win at this time of the year, it ends in tears.

"The boys were pretty good against a quality football team. We have a lot of players who are threats right now and it's helping everyone else play well."

This was meant to be a blockbuster between two top-four teams, but instead, it became a one-sided Suncorp stitch-up, as Moga, Darius Boyd, Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima terrorised the sloppy Sharks.

Cronulla warhorse Paul Gallen's 300th game celebrations turned to tears, as Brisbane raced to a 14-6 half-time lead and a Moga double after the break put the Sharks to bed.

Brisbane have now scored 140 points in their past four games and Ben Hunt's efforts, replacing McCullough at hooker, are reminiscent of the Shaun Berrigan masterstroke that inspired the Broncos' fairytale 2006 premiership win.

But this was also a win for Brisbane's forwards.

Cronulla's big-name pack, led by Andrew Fifita, Wade Graham and Luke Lewis, were belted in midfield, as Broncos duo Josh McGuire and Matt Gillett charged for a combined 286 metres.

Coach Bennett admitted, on match eve, he was concerned about the prospect of complacency, after last week's 54-0 rout of the Titans. The super coach needn't have worried.

Brisbane's start reeked of a team hellbent on winning the premiership. While the Sharks bumbled through the first half like buffoons from the Benny Hill Show, the Broncos ticked the boxes that say everything about a team's attitude.

Their kick-chase was energetic. Their defensive line speed was sharp.

The jury may be out on whether Nikorima is the halfback capable of snapping Brisbane's title drought, but the pint-sized No 7 made a fair statement.

Both of Brisbane's first-half tries were a tribute to Nikorima's pass selection. His judicious face ball put Matt Gillett over in the sixth minute and he produced a replica pass in the 35th minute for Darius Boyd, who sliced through to give the Broncos a 14-0 lead.

Most importantly, Nikorima showed the nous to target Cronulla's defensive achilles heel - James Maloney, who finished with a dismal 10 missed tackles.

Lewis gave the Sharks hope with a try 60 seconds before half-time, but the Broncos always had their measure. When Moga crossed on the hour, Cronulla were toast.

Now Brisbane can dare to dream of a seventh premiership.

BRISBANE 32 (T Moga 2 D Boyd M Gillett C Oates tries A Milford 6 goals) CRONULLA 10 (G Beale L Lewis tries J Maloney goal)