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2022 NRL Magic Round, Sea Eagles 0 Broncos 38 – Report

Shannon Meyer reviews a sensational Broncos win featuring star performances from Adam Reynolds and Selwyn Cobbo on a magic night for Broncos fans.

MATCHDAY RESULTS

SCOREBOARD

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 0
Tries: N/A
Goals: N/A

Brisbane Broncos 38
Tries: Selwyn Cobbo 3 (1, 44, 48), Adam Reynolds (36), Corey Oates (59, 73)
Goals: Adam Reynolds (2, 21 – pen, 38, 46, 50, 60, 74)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

A big game for the Broncos: recent good form had given the recently success-starved fans of the NRL powerhouse some hope. But facing Manly as the away team at their home ground was the biggest test for a while. The Broncos came into this match in their best form since pre-COVID-19, and it’s been their big name signing Adam Reynolds that has been leading the way. So it seemed appropriate that the Broncos halfback was influential in the opening plays of the game.

Reynolds’ kick-off landed just short of Manly’s Tom Trobjevic, and the fullback was punished for not attacking the ball as it took a few wicked bounces and forced Manly to drop out within the first seconds of the game. After a good short drop out was spectacularly thwarted by Corey Oates, the Broncos used their great territory and ball to open the scoring in that first set. Of course, Reynolds was at the heart of it. His perfect cross-field kick found Selwyn Cobbo, a player also responsible for some of the Broncos’ recent form, and the electric winger put the ball down in the corner. The sideline conversion was nailed by Reynolds and the away side were 6-0 up after 90 seconds.

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The Broncos almost doubled their lead in the 10th minute when Kurt Capewell charged over the line, but was disallowed after scrutiny for a knock on. Needless to say the chance was set up by Reynolds, who decided to run the blind side on the last tackle.

Brisbane were well on top despite the try. As much as Reynolds rightly receives praise, the Broncos’ new found intensity in defense is as much of the reason for their recent success, and this was on show in the first part of the game, which was an intense opening.

Manly went close to evening up the ledger in the 14th minute when Tom Trbojevic stole the ball from a bomb, but was held up over the line and lost the ball by a super last-ditch tackle from Billy Walters. Tolutau Koula wasted a golden opportunity a few plays later after spilling a fine grubber kick in behind the Broncos’ line. The Sea Eagles were starting to get into the game.

Next set the Broncos edged ahead by two points after receiving a penalty for Walters being tackled without the ball after a grubber close to the line. One could argue that it may have received a 10 minute sin bin stint in many others games this season, but it was overlooked this time. Either way the Broncos were ahead 8-0 with 20 minutes to go in the first half.

A few sets later a Marty Taupau 30-metre charge through the middle – after a very questionable pass – lit up the Sea Eagles fans, but again the last tackle play was ordinary and the set after that too ended the same way. Manly remained frustrated: the Broncos – to their credit – giving them nothing.

Not long after the Broncos thought they were further ahead, again it was Kurt Capewell and again the try was disallowed. This time it was for a forward pass, which was less forward than others already seen in the match. Of course the opportunity was set up by Reynolds pushing Reuben Garrick into touch chasing his last tackle kick to the corner.

A range of plays to sum up Manly’s first half came just before half-time. They forced a drop out, with was well taken by Tolutau Koula

A few tackles later and the new resident magician of Lang Park pulled another trick out of his hat for Magic Round for the home fans. On the last tackle Reynolds shaped to kick to the right-hand corner and instead he pulled a little chip kick out of the bag, which of course bounced perfectly into the halfback’s arms and dived through two Manly defenders to score a try in the style of Broncos legend Allan Langer. Reynolds added the two points to stretch the lead out to 14 points with a few minutes to half-time.

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The half-time lead was no less than the Broncos deserved, with Reynolds providing some real magic, but the platform laid by the Broncos’ defense and hard work up the middle, with Patrick Carrigan leading the charge. Manly weren’t out of it, but their last tackle options needed work. And both Tom and Ben Trbojevic didn’t look 100% fit, hobbling at times in the first half.

HALF-TIME: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 0 Brisbane Broncos 14

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2nd Half

The second half opened up with both teams handing over possession with cheap early errors, and the Broncos almost made Manly pay for theirs, but a charging Oates was stopped just short of the line by a fine cover tackle by Christian Tuipulotu.

It didn’t take long for the Broncos to make up for that, and like the first half it was a try set up by a perfect cross-field kick by Reynolds and finished off in style by Cobbo. This time the kick was landed on the chest of a sprinting – rather than a jumping – Cobbo. Reynolds kicked the sideline conversion to make the score 20-0.

Not long after Cobbo had Suncorp Stadium roaring with a 95-metre intercept and the first hat trick of his career. The winger plucked the sharp cut-out pass out of the air, and never looked like being caught charging down the sideline. Talking of the sideline, the Maestro Reynolds kicked that conversion too, and the Broncos were 26-0 with over half-an-hour to play.

Proving the point on the Broncos season in recent weeks, Manly should have scored around the 60 minute mark in the corner, but the Broncos’ cover defense was more desperate despite being 26-0 up. It also showed that Manly were unlikely to come up with enough points from here to turn the result around.

Brisbane benefitted from that defense with their very next set as Oates joined the try-scoring list, finishing off a fine left movement featuring Reynolds, a supporting Te Maire Martin, and a bustling Herbie Farnworth. As Oates slid over the try line courtesy of a recently started downpour, the Broncos passed 30 points, with another Reynolds sideline conversion underlining the dominance.

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The game lost a bit of fizz as the second half wound down, but that doesn’t mean the Broncos didn’t have time to extend their lead. Tyson Gamble probed to the left and found Oates who ran an inside line from the wing and charged through some ordinary defense from Daly Cherry-Evans to score his second of the night. Reynolds kicked the conversion and sealed his 100% record for the night, yet another feather in his cap of a performance that was one of the finest individual games so far this season.

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It was simply a sensational night for Brisbane, one of very few at Suncorp Stadium in the past few years, all conducted by Reynolds who was outstanding once again. Cobbo showed why so many are excited about his prospects in the NRL with three tries and loads of speed. But as mentioned a few times, it is the Broncos’ defense that is as impressive as the magic of Reynolds. Their defense in previous seasons could be classed as paper towel-thin at times, but there’s some real backbone about their efforts in 2022. It was the first time the Broncos had not conceded a point since winning 24-0 over the Bulldogs in March 2021. And their first run of four wins in a row since 2017.

For Manly, it was a bad night. The Broncos didn’t give them much, nor did the Sea Eagles do themselves any favours with errors and poor attacking options. It was the first time they were held to zero points since 2013, and just the fourth time since 1998. Tom Trbojevic never got into the game either and also didn’t look 100%. Perhaps it was tempting fate by wearing black jerseys on Friday the 13th at an event called Magic Round.

FULL-TIME: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 0 Brisbane Broncos 38

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS

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3 pts – Adam Reynolds (Broncos), 2 pts – Selwyn Cobbo (Broncos), 1 pt – Patrick Carrigan (Broncos)

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