Competition leaders for a reason after their brilliant start to the season, it was a very different sort of game for the Brisbane Broncos, as they looked flat and out-of-sorts, comprehensively beaten by a hungry Manly side.
On the flip side, for Manly, it was a tough week for them but they put sagas and dramas behind them and did what they do best – play footy. It was enough as they showed resolve, ticker and hunger to keep their finals hopes alive after the 44-14 win.
The win in Gosford came just four days after current coach Geoff Toovey was told his services are no longer required, as veteran Jamie Lyon and five-eighth Kieran Foran put on a show in front of the 16,280-strong crowd.
Manly burst out of the blocks and held a 20-0 lead at half-time, a deficit that was always going to be tough to claw back for the Broncos.
One of their stars of the future in Tom Trbojevic, who came into the side with Steve Matai out injured, scored two tries to continue his impressive form across several grades.
It continued to rain tries as Lyon’s assist abilities were on show in every facet, putting on pass after pass to get his team-mates over the line.
There was a rare double for Kieran Foran, as his good form as the eyes of Parramatta Eels fans lighting up, with the Kiwi half to join them in 2016.
Gosford is a happy home ground for Manly, with the side winning 13 of their 16 clashes there and Toovey becoming just the sixth coach in their history to coach 100 or more games for Manly.
Not one to shy away from honesty, Broncos coach Wayne Bennett admitted that his side was off the boil from the very start.
“They started extremely well and I thought our start and was as poor as I’ve seen us start,” he said.
Knowing that Toovey is departing, the Sea Eagles wanted to dig deep and get the win for him.
“It was definitely a motivation. We wanted to play well. Geoff was great all week and he got us up for the game and I’m glad we got the win for him,” Lyon said.
Broncos captain Justin Hodges was also honest, admitting that the Manly side just wanted the win more than his team.
“They just wanted it more, they turned up in the right frame of mind and we didn’t,” Hodges said.
Player of the Game:
3. Jamie Lyon
2. Kieran Foran
1. Jorge Taufua