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Broncos beat 2016 champion Cronulla in NRL season opener

Broncos beat 2016 champion Cronulla in NRL season opener

SYDNEY (AP) — Cronulla's premiership defense in Australia's National Rugby League got off to a shaky start when the Sharks were beaten 26-18 at home by Brisbane to open the 2017 season.

The Broncos appeared headed for an easy victory after captain Darius Boyd set up two of his side's three tries on the way to building a 20-6 lead early in the second half.

But back-to-back tries brought the Sharks to within two points — 20-18 — before Anthony Milford scored a clinching try for the Broncos.

"We were our own worst enemies ... disappointing from the standards we set ourselves last year," Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan said.

The Melbourne Storm, who lost the 2016 grand final to Cronulla, beat Canterbury 12-6 after tries in the opening six minutes to Cheyse Blair and Suliasi Vunivalu in driving rain in Sydney.

Fullback James Tedesco scored one try and set up another to lead the Wests Tigers to a 34-18 win over South Sydney

South Sydney captain and Australia and Queensland State of Origin star Greg Inglis could miss up to six months of the season after injuring his knee in the opening minutes of the match.

Scans revealed the fullback damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Despite the early incident, Inglis remained on the field and received regular attention from trainers but he struggled with his movement and shifted over to play on the wing.

The Rabbitohs defended their decision to allow Inglis to continue playing.

"The injury occurred in the first instance in the match, not as a consequence of Greg playing on further," Rabbitohs general manager of football Shane Richardson said.

On Sunday, David Fusitua scored three tries and Ryan Hoffman notched the winner in the 73rd minute as the New Zealand Warriors beat Newcastle 26-22. Corey Norman scored a try and set up another as Parramatta defeated Manly 20-12.

In other weekend matches, backrower Joel Thompson crossed for three tries St. George Illawarra's 42-10 win over Penrith, North Queensland beat Canberra 20-16 in golden point overtime, and the Sydney Roosters held on to beat the Gold Coast Titans 32-18 after leading 28-0 at halftime.