Lui Targeted, Manly Prospered
Robert Lui is probably the most despised player in the NRL for good reason. He is also a poor defender and Geoff Toovey and his players knew it.
Lui certainly had a giant target on his forehead during the game, Justin Horo only had eyes for him whenever he took a hit up down the left corridor, during the first half Jorge Taufua was jogging across the field and seemed to light up once he saw Lui in front of him, he hit the accelerator and seemed to almost expect to break through him. Most telling though was the use of the combination of Kieran Foran, Brett Stewart and Horo which was used a number of times against the Cowboys halfback to try and overwhelm and confuse him, and boy did it work!
We all know the video referees made a massive mistake on Friday night, but these pictures (click to enlarge) below will show Lui was just as bad on numerous occasions.
5th minute: Foran throws a second man ball to Brett Stewart, Brent Tate shows little confidence in Lui and decides to come in and help leaving a gaping hole for Steve Matai to run through and score.
35th minute: Taufua takes an inside ball from Matai and heads back in field, he demolishes Lui with a stiff arm to the face and he falls over like a sack of potatoes.
48th minute: Lui is caught on his heels as he watches Horo run a decoy line at the Cowboys defence, his hesitation causes his outside men in Tate and Curtis Rona to have to hold a fraction of a second too long, Glenn Stewart fires the ball to his brother Brett and quick hands allows Taufua to dive over in the corner for an easy try.
66th minute: Manly aim their attack at Lui once again, while Matai feigns to go outside taking care of Tate he actually throws a short ball inside to a sprinting Brett Stewart who slices straight past a lazy Lui and puts Taufua over for his second try.
76th minute: The match winner set up by Kieran Foran and once again Lui is there to make it happen. The dummy for the long pass fools Lui and Buhrer takes a beautiful short ball to crash over for an amazing Manly win.