Manly failed to capitalise on a dominant first half; injuries eventually caught up with them as the Broncos over-powered them.
After the game opened with three penalties in the first four minutes, it settled down and Manly were the better side for the most of the first half, as the Broncos looked off the pace again.
Manly took advantage in the 8th minute when hooker Api Koroisau strolled over from dummy half almost untouched, after the Broncos has gifted the Sea Eagles possession in their own 20 metres in the first hit up after a scrum.
It was all going Manly’s way for a while after; they were unable to take their chances, as two tries were disallowed, both for Abbas Miski. Brisbane got back into the game not long after, which coincided with Manly losing both of their starting centres: Moses Suli to dislocated/broken finger and Brad Parker to HIA.
The Broncos took advantage just before half time with Anthony Milford slicing through from dummy half, picking up on the run after Kotoni Staggs has stormed his way into the Manly 10 metre line. It was 6-6 at half-time.
The Broncos drew first blood four minutes into the second half when Corey Oates benefited from the perfect Darius Boyd pass on the left. They extended the lead to 16-6 when the perfect grubber from Anthony Milford as met by the perfect run of Matt Gillett who scored under the posts.
Another perfect Milford grubber was met with perfect run from Boyd, not long after Sea Eagles prop Toafofoa Sipley had been taken from field with a suspected broken leg.
A try to Jack Gosiewski in the 69th minute opened up the possibility of a comeback at 22-10, but the Broncos wrapped it up with a final try to David Fifita with a few minutes to go.
The score may have been 26-10, but the Broncos didn’t do it that easy, and Manly battled hard and admirably.
Much-needed win for the Broncos but room for improvement
The Broncos got back to winning ways at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, but they were only good in small patches. They were up against a side that was already depleted going into the game, and weakened further still by losing both of their centres.
Their attack at times looks reasonably disorganised, but there were flashes of brilliance from Anthony Milford, and Tom Dearden grew as they game wore on, and their was plenty of commitment in defence from their young forward pack.
It is still a very young side, and the potential is huge if they can keep players like Pangai, Fifita, Ofahengaue, and Haas long-term. If Dearden develops like he threatens to, there’s plenty to like about the Broncos down the road. Maybe just not in 2019 yet.
For all the Broncos’ good, Manly were right down on numbers both on the night and heading into the game.
Manly against the odds
The Sea Eagles have battled very hard in 2019, losing key players in key games and still getting the wins. At one stage they had just a resting Martin Taupau on their bench after the lost both starting centres within the first 20 minutes.
It ended up being just too much for Manly; after losing their centres they had what seemed a conga line of injuries heading to the sidelines.
Koroisau went off injured halfway through second half, and then lost Toafofoa Sipley when they needed the medivac to remove him from the field with a broken leg.
Manly have won games in similar circumstances this year, most impressively against the Rabbitohs, but if was just too much tonight at Suncorp Stadium and they will need some bodies back quickly to continue to compete for the top eight.
A word for Jake Trbojevic, who has been a Superman for Manly during this time, and again tonight. And for the tackle of Brendan Elliott on a runaway Corey Oates with a few minutes to spare, even though by then the game was gone for Manly.
If Des Hasler brings nothing else to his sides, it is the tenacity Manly showed against the Broncos.
Injuries for the Broncos too
The injury to Andrew McCullough allowed Redcliffe Dolphins hooker Jake Turpin to shine for the Broncos; he was enthusiastic and one of the better players for the Broncos, especially when they were struggling. That was a silver lining to an injury for the Broncos.
Much worse new is that Jack Bird – who was one of their better players as well tonight – and arguably during the season so far, has done an ACL. Sad news for the centre who has starting winning back respect and possibly a Blues jersey with his 2019 form.
Talking of backs, Tevita Pangai left the field with an injured back. The hulking powerhouse will be missed if the pain extends into missing game time.
Martin Taupau top of the props
Taupau has been one of the very best props in the competition this season, he provides so much forward momentum for the Sea Eagles, and along with Jake Trbojevic has been the backbone of the hard fought wins for Manly this season.
His numbers tonight were good enough, topping the runs and metres gained with 179, and the post-contact metres. And he is in the top five for those categories for the season.
He even had time for a bit of verbal biff with Matt Lodge in the second half, one can only wonder how that would have ended up ten seasons ago.
He seems the read deal for Manly and – happily for them -is reasonably lucky with injuries. They’ll need him.
Tries: Anthony Milford, Corey Oates, Matt Gillett, Darius Boyd, David Fifita
Goals: Kotoni Staggs 3/5
Tries: Apisai Koroisau, Jack Gosiewski
Goals: Reuben Garrick 1/2
MANLY-WARRINGAH: 1. Brendan Elliott 18. Abbas Miski 3. Moses Suli 4. Brad Parker 5. Reuben Garrick 12. Curtis Sironen 7. Kane Elgey 8. Toafofoa Sipley 6. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 14. Jack Gosiewski 13. Jake Trbojevic
Interchange: 9. Manase Fainu 15. Kelepi Tanginoa 16. Corey Waddell 17. Morgan Boyle
BRISBANE:1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Jack Bird 5. Gehamat Shibasaki 6. Anthony Milford 7. Tom Dearden 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Thomas Flegler
Interchange: 14. Patty Carrigan 15. David Fifita 16. Tevita Pangai 17. Joe Ofahengaue