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Staggs party: Broncos too good for Sharks amid fresh bunker controversy

Brisbane coach Kevin Walters has credited the much-awaited return of Kotoni Staggs and the current form of Payne Haas for helping to turn the club around with a thrilling 26-18 win over Cronulla at Suncorp Stadium.

Walters said he feels the club is finally moving in the right direction after Sunday’s win and the arrivals of new strength and conditioning coach Dave Ballard and football and performance director Ben Ikin.

“The club is made up of some really good people and it’s about all of those people – players, staff – working together to turn the club around,” Walters said.

“There has been a lot going on but we are at clear water now.”

Staggs pulled on the Broncos jersey for the first time in 2021, after an ACL injury and an NRL-issued suspension, and he turned up in a comeback performance which had Walters smiling and giving a thumbs up to the camera at the end of the game.

The close match came as welcome relief after Saturday’s margin blowout, but came with major dramas for the NRL’s football department after the bunker seemingly ruled on a forward pass.

Sharks centre Jesse Ramien crashed over in the ninth minute after a pass from Sione Katoa, which travelled about two metres forward. Despite the obvious error, the touch judge failed to pick up the error with the try awarded on-field.

But before play could restart, the bunker intervened under the guise of a knock-on decision.

The bunker ruled Katoa had “juggled the ball” before going “forward off the ground” in a strange call which made for cover after the on-field howler.

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