30 Jul 2011

Hodges stars as Broncos destroy Sharks

6:38 am on 30 July 2011

Classy centre Justin Hodges returned to his dangerous best with a hat-trick of tries as Brisbane crushed Cronulla 46-16 in their NRL clash at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Hodges was at times almost impossible to handle with his big left-foot step and massive fend, that at one stage sent Sharks fullback Nathan Gardner flying five metres backwards.

He made 15 tackle breaks for the match.

To their credit Cronulla matched Brisbane in the second half with tries to centre Matthew Wright and stand-in skipper Jeremy Smith, although with such a big lead the Broncos had gone off the boil.

The win edged Brisbane into third place on 30 points, one ahead of the Dragons and two ahead of the Cowboys, who can leapfrog the Broncos by beating Penrith by more than eight points.

The Sharks remain 11th on 18 points.

In Friday night's other game the Wests Tigers came from behind to down Manly 14-12 at Bluetongue Stadium.