Sea Eagles bounce back to stun flat Broncos
Powered by inspired lock Jake Trbojevic, the Sea Eagles broke a five game losing streak to shock the Broncos 38-24 at Suncorp Stadium.
Trbojevic had two tries by half-time, made a clean break which could easily have resulted in another and produced up tackle after tackle to lift the underdogs to an 18-14 half-time lead.
Manly never looked back and dominated the final 40 minutes in every aspect of the game.
Fullback Tom Trbojevic had a shaky start to the match with a couple of errors, but played himself back into form and NSW Blues contention with numerous probing incisions clutching the Steeden.
The win was orchestrated by halfback and captain Daly Cherry-Evans, whose kicking game was a source of points and constant headaches for the Broncos defence.
If anything summed up Manly's mentality it was a one-on-one try saving tackle by Akuila Uate on back-rower Jaydn Su'A in the second half.
The Sea Eagles were more desperate, defended better and attacked with a fluency which eluded the Broncos.
The clash of the two young giants, Brisbane's Payne Haas and Manly's Taniela Paseka, had an unfortunate ending for both props.
Haas entered the fray in the first half and sustained a partial dislocated shoulder but bravely played on.
That valiant display was cut short by common sense at half-time and Haas did not return.
Paseka was powerful in his limited game time but came to grief in the second-half when he left the field with an injured ankle.
Wayne Bennett's attempt to ignite Jack Bird by switching him to right centre and James Roberts to the left did not have the desired impact.
Roberts did not see much ball but at least went looking for it and set up a late try for Jamayne Isaako.
Manly scored early courtesy of a spitting grubber by Cherry-Evans which bamboozled Kodi Nikorima and the luckless Bird with Jake Trbojevic picking up the scraps.
Brisbane responded from close range through hooker Andrew McCullough whose strength and desire won out despite three Manly defenders grappling with him.
The value of McCullough came to the fore again when a short pass to Sam Thaiday sent the veteran over.
A Dylan Walker short ball found a barnstorming Joel Thompson, the Trbojevic brothers combined with Jake scoring his second and the Sea Eagles had an 18-14 half-time lead.
Manly put the foot down in the second half as the Broncos opened up in the middle of the park. In-form hooker Apisai Koroisau gave NSW coach Brad Fittler plenty to think about when he surged out of dummy-half.
Match: Sea Eagles vs Broncos
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Uate finished a slick left-side move and Thompson celebrated Indigenous Round with a double after following a Cherry-Evans kick.
The Broncos did provide a moment of magic in the second half when Anthony Milford snatched a Nikorima chip out of the air at speed to race away.
That magic was too sporadic to give the Broncos any chance of victory.
Their top eight chances will get a stern test next week when the Roosters visit Suncorp Stadium.
News & Notes ... Sea Eagles forwards Joel Thompson and Jake Trbojevic both scored doubles... Sea Eagles bench prop Taniela Paseka left the field with an ankle injury in the 42nd minute...Broncos teenaged prop Payne Haas did not return in the second half after suffering a partial dislocation of his shoulder Crowd: 31, 118 ... Brisbane veteran Sam Thaiday played his 150th game at Suncorp Stadium Next week: Brisbane Broncos at home to Sydney Roosters on Friday at 7.50pm, Manly Sea Eagles away to Melbourne Storm on Saturday at 7.30pm.