Manly coach Des Hasler praised the near-flawless execution of his team and emergence of young stars as the Sea Eagles moved into the NRL top eight for the first time this season with a record 50-6 win over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
The Sea Eagles had stars all across the park as fullback Tom Trbojevic and winger Jason Saab both finished with try-scoring doubles to continue their red-hot form for the club’s fifth win in their past six games.
Fullback Trbojevic has been an absolute standout since returning from a hamstring injury in round six, adding a further two try assists to his tally for the season with his record over five games now standing at seven tries, 10 try assists and nine line-break assists.
“He is always going to be a threat. He is always going to have that influence on the game. You want those players,” Hasler said.
Turbo returns the favour to Saab
But Trbojevic was by no means Manly’s only standout in their eight-try-to-one rout of the Broncos, with brother Jake Trbojevic solid up front, halfback Daly Cherry-Evans in commanding form and front-rowers Martin Taupau (200m) and Taniela Paseka (234m) leading the way in the middle of the park.
The Sea Eagles completed at 87 per cent and were particularly slick with their play, scoring three tries in five minutes when the Broncos had two players in the sin bin for high tackles.
“I thought Cherry was really good tonight. He played a really smart game of footy,” Hasler said.
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“The forwards gave us plenty of momentum, particular Marty when he came off the bench, and I was particularly pleased with the way some of the younger blokes are progressing too.”
After starting the season 0-4 the Sea Eagles have now emerged as one of the competition’s real underdog hopes but their true credentials will be tested next Sunday when they face Parramatta.
The Sea Eagles have beaten the Warriors (twice), Titans, Tigers and now the Broncos so they know they need to perform against a big scalp before they can be considered finals threats.
They will face the Eels without veteran playmaker Kieran Foran who suffered a suspected broken hand, but should regain Curtis Sironen from a knee injury.
Hasler praised his men for the way they’ve fought back from the difficult start of the season where his own future as coach came under fire.
Manly strike from long-range as Turbo grabs a double
“I just think we didn’t get off to the best of starts and we were probably a little bit bent out of shape for whatever reason,” he said.
“We’ve been able to get a couple of wins together and get a bit of momentum going but as I said we’re completing a lot better and adjusted a few things.
“They’ve worked hard, we always stated it was always going to be hard work so it’s great to see them get the rewards through sheer hard work.”
Schuster grabs a four-pointer as the Sea Eagles hit fifty