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Manly Sea Eagles one step closer to minor premiership after defeating Brisbane Broncos

Date

Tom Decent

Heroes of the hour: Bronco Josh Hoffman is tackled by Matt Ballin and Anthony Watmough.

Heroes of the hour: Bronco Josh Hoffman is tackled by Matt Ballin and Anthony Watmough. Photo: Getty Images

Manly have taken another major stride towards winning their first minor premiership in 17 years, grinding out a 16-4 win against Brisbane at Brookvale Oval on Friday night.  

After a five-day turnaround following their hard-fought victory over the Warriors in New Zealand, Geoff Toovey's men scored the only two tries of the second half in an entertaining display in front of a crowd of 12,873. 

Brookvale has again been a happy hunting ground for Manly this season -  they've now won eight in a row at their spiritual home and the only team to get the better of them in front of their own crowd was the Storm in round one. 

With one betting agency already paying out on a Sea Eagles minor premiership, Manly fans will be breathing a sigh of relief that it wasn't a jinx waiting to happen. 

The statistics columns suggested it was an even contest, and it was, but Manly's plethora of backline superstars ground out the win with the formula that has served them so well in years gone by. 

Only twice in 20 years have Brisbane beaten Manly at Brookvale, and when Corey Parker's first kick went out on the full, it looked like a foregone conclusion history would repeat itself after the first touch of the game. 

Three tackles later Daly Cherry-Evans ran across the line of defence, before dummying and dipping his head towards the line. Gerard Sutton gave it the green light, but video replays clearly showed the stand-in Queensland halfback had knocked on. 

Twelve minutes in, Manly three quarter Jamie Lyon crashed over on the right edge after Brett Stewart's pass gave him ample space, but it was nothing more than poor defending from Dale Copley. 

During the week Broncos coach Anthony Griffin said he wanted his players to not give up starts like they have done in recent weeks against the Storm and the Warriors, but it was Brisbane's poor last tackle options that hampered any chance of gaining an early ascendancy. 

Manly had a chance to draw more than a converted try in front, but Jamie Lyon bottled a certain four-pointer in the 22nd minute in hilarious circumstances.

Cherry-Evans made a break through the middle of the field and kicked ahead for Lyon to run onto it, but instead of re-gathering the ball just before the tryline, Lyon's kneed the ball over the dead ball line like a bullet straight drive in a T20. 

10 minutes later Brisbane drew level courtesy of a diving effort on the left wing by Jack Reed, who somehow snaffled up a Daniel Vidot offload from a Ben Hunt cross-field kick.

Both teams lost star centres in the first half as Justin Hodges (hamstring) and Steve Matai (concussion) disappeared down the tunnel, but the latter returned for the second half. 

Whether it was a sense of panic or just taking poor options in general, the frenetic pace of the game coerced players from both sides to take the attacking option on most occasions, which resulted in copious errors in the other team's opposite 20 metres. 

Peta Hiku's try in the right corner helped Manly draw ahead 8-4 thanks largely to some hot potato passing from the Sea Eagles.  

Jamie Lyon gained control of the ball after an incredible four offloads, before orchestrating a perfectly weighted grubber into the hands of the 21-year-old winger. 

The win was sealed 12 minutes from full time when Kieran Foran, who is in career-best form, made a break down the middle, before passing to Brett Stewart on the inside, who notched up his sixth try in his last six matches at Brookvale Oval. 

4 comments so far

  • Who came up with the "brilliant" idea to have Brisbane wearing Manly's colours, and Manly wearing yellow, which I have seen Brisbane wearing occassionally over the years? It was really irritating, so I turned it off.

    Commenter
    Brian Harry
    Location
    Tweed Heads NSW
    Date and time
    August 02, 2014, 7:28AM
    • As a Bronco fan I must pay tribute to that Manly team I saw last night. Awesome defence. If I was a Manly fan I would be pretty excited about their chances for the finals. I think that the Broncos may have suffered from having a good but still inexperienced coach and will only improve in the future.

      Commenter
      DP
      Location
      GC
      Date and time
      August 02, 2014, 9:14AM
      • Nightmare: Manly wearing blue and yellow.

        Commenter
        Ben
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        August 02, 2014, 9:43AM
        • Strong effort by the Eagles after a tough turnaround. The ridiculous colour change for Manly confused everyone, maroon/white at Brookvale is hardwired as meaning Manly - don't fiddle with it please! Great efforts by Foran, Matai and Big Tom. And a very honest effort by Brisbane.

          Commenter
          harrythecat
          Location
          Alice Springs
          Date and time
          August 02, 2014, 10:49AM

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          NRL Season 2015

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          CBY vs GCT 00:00TBA
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          CRO vs MEL 00:00Remondis Stadium
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          SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
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          MEL vs NEW 00:00AAMI
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          Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
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