A suspected ruptured ACL to centre Jack Bird has soured Brisbane's 26-10 win over a brave Manly after Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd sprung to life when the Broncos needed them most at Suncorp Stadium.
It will be wretched luck for Bird if the injury proves to be serious.
Strong form had put him in contention for a NSW recall after he put his 2018 season from hell behind him where surgery on his sternum and shoulder cruelled the 24-year-old’s year.
"Birdy is going to straight to get a scan. He’s injured his knee and it looks to be quite serious," Broncos coach Anthony Seibold said after the game.
"I don’t want to prejudge what we are going to find but he is quite upset in the change rooms and that is never a good sign."
The injury ravaged Sea Eagles showed their customary grit to dominate the first half. The scores were locked at 6-all at half-time before Boyd and Milford showcased their match-winning abilities to secure Brisbane’s third win of the season.
Match: Sea Eagles v Broncos
Round 9 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
A sublime Boyd cut-out pass to Corey Oates wound back the clock and gave the Broncos a 10-6 lead. Then a Milford 40/20 was followed by a pinpoint grubber by the five-eighth for Matt Gillett to score.
Milford, who had scored just before half-time courtesy of a dart from close range, provided another deft grubber for Boyd to race onto.
Boyd’s fullback play and leadership had come under fire leading into the game and he missed a tackle to let Api Koroisau score early, but then showed great courage under several testing Kane Elgey bombs.
That gave Boyd the confidence to take other areas of his game up a notch in what was a true captain’s knock.
It was Manly the brave at Suncorp Stadium in front of 41,388 fans after they lost centre Moses Suli to a broken finger and fellow centre Brad Parker to an HIA in the first half.
Koroisau then succumbed to a calf injury mid-way through the second half before prop Toafofoa Sipley suffered a suspected ACL injury.
A plethora of stars were already on the sidelines including Daly Cherry-Evans, Tom Trbojevic, Addin Fonua-Blake, Lachlan Croker and Dylan Walker.
Winger Jorge Taufua had been named but withdrew with a hamstring injury.
That didn’t deter the Sea Eagles and they dominated the first half with Martin Taupau and Jake Trbojevic both enormous through the middle.
Koroisau gave them a 6-0 lead and then Lebanese international Abbas Miski had a try disallowed for an obstruction after the bearded winger had torn the Broncos defence to shreds minutes earlier.
Miski was then denied again after an Elgey cut-out pass was ruled forward.
Brisbane were well served by new hooker Jake Turpin whose energy and guile was a feature, just hours after it had emerged the Broncos had signed Cronulla hooker James Segeyaro.
Props Payne Haas and Joe Ofahengaue ran for huge metres to give the Broncos impetus through the middle and give their top-eight aspirations much-needed oxygen.