Manly have strode into Brisbane and snuck away with the 2 points after putting together a solid second half performance to blow the home sideÂ away today. Â
Coming off a week’s rest, Manly wore Brisbane down after trailing 12-6 at half-time, keeping their try line in tact for the last 65 minutes and putting on four unanswered second-half tries.
Brisbane skipper Darren Lockyer, who underwent surgery on his right knee a few hours before the game, joined Australia centre Justin Hodges (shoulder), veteran lock Tonie Carroll (hamstring) and goal-kicking forward Corey Parker (knee) in the stands as the Broncos missed almost 50 tackles.
Bennett told his players last week that the coming eight weeks were going to be tough given the key injuries they were battling and the looming State of Origin series which is set to take at least four players away.
â€œ(This) was day one and it’s not going to get any easier,â€ Bennett said.
â€œI’ve got a group of young guys out there in the backline and a lot of other guys that are trying really hard and we just got worn down out there.
â€œFooty’s a grind some days and they (Manly) were pretty good in the arm wrestle.
â€œThere was no Carroll. One of their tries came up because he wasn’t playing. If he plays it doesn’t happen.
â€œThat’s what happens, the more players you lose, and we’ve got five of them out. They’ve done a remarkable job. This has been our situation nearly all season.â€
Manly took control after half-time through tries from centre Steve Bell, mercurial forward Steve Menzies and prop Brent Kite, who charged over untouched to put Manly up 24-12.
Sea Eagles full-back Brett Stewart then grabbed his seventh try of the season after winning a lottery for a Matt Orford bomb.
Manly coach Des Hasler urged New South Wales selectors to give Orford the Blues No.7 jumper and was stunned by suggestions Kite could be overlooked for the first Origin on Wednesday week in Sydney.
â€œI think the fellow sitting beside me,â€ Hasler said when the question of who should play half-back for NSW was raised.
â€œI take take no shame in pushing his barrow, I think he controlled the game nicely, that’s three starts for three wins and it gives us some momentum.
â€œI thought both Kite and (Josh) Perry were outstanding, especially in the second half.
â€œBrent has made the Australian side and he’s acquitted himself really well, so it’s fair to say he’s in line.
â€œHe can only do his best, put his hand up and win games, the rest is up to the selectors.â€
Brisbane prop Ben Hannant, who is almost certain to be chosen for his Origin debut, was taken to hospital to have a badly split lip stitched after a heavy collision with Manly lock Luke Williamson who came out of the clash with a cut cheek.