They always say that the rugby league is a game of two halves and that statement rings true for the Brisbane Broncos, who burst out of the gates in the 1st half showcasing skill, speed and vision, only for the second half to be completely different, as Manly scored three tries in quick succession to dispose of the Broncos, winning 28-10 at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane started all guns blazing as some blistering play from centre Justin Hodges set up the club’s first couple of tries, including a beautiful flick pass for winger Lachlan Maranta to score.
The second half was all Manly, though, as the Broncos lost their killer spark and couldn’t deal with Manly’s left-hand side – with Manly centre Steve Matai shining and scoring two tries.
Hodges was clearly the star in attack for Brisbane, with Manly eventually putting 3 defenders on him to nullify his attacking threat – a move that worked.
In what was well and truly a Jekyll and Hyde performance from the Broncos, it was a performance that left coach Anthony Griffin rather disappointed, believing his side just “rolled over” and let the Broncos run over the top of them.
“They jumped us with energy and got us by the throat,” he said, referring to Manly’s seven-minute spree.
“Three tries … and that was it.
“When you give up a 14-6 lead and, all of a sudden you’re down 22-14, psychologically you pay a price for that.”
Manly coach Geoff Toovey heaped praise on the toughness of back-rower Anthony Watmough, who had to leave the field in the second half after the injections on his injured ribs did not last the whole game.
“His ribs were pretty sore, especially after the injections wore off. I thought he was outstanding and played tough – that’s the kind of player he is,” said Toovey.
NRL News Awards
3. Daly Cherry-Evans
2. Steve Matai
1. Justin Hodges