A ruthless Manly have ensured there will be no fairytale NRL grand final finish for Brisbane skipper Darren Lockyer.
injured five-eighth watched helplessly from the sidelines as his
youthful side went down 26-14 at the Sydney Football Stadium against a
disciplined Sea Eagles outfit, who will now play their third grand final
in five years next Sunday.
The Sea Eagles were hugely impressive
and thoroughly deserved winners, but will be sweating on the
availability of Tony Williams and Steve Matai for the decider.
The pair were placed on report after being penalised for two challenges on Jharal Yow Yeh in as many second-half minutes.
was sanctioned for using a swinging arm to bring down the Queensland
winger and Matai for catching Yow Yeh with his knees as he
unsuccessfully tried to touch the ball down for a try.
who sat the game out due to a shattered left cheekbone, finishes a
glittering career for the Broncos on 355 games and four premierships and
was sorely missed by his team.
A litany of soft penalties really
hurt the Broncos as a pair of tries from William Hopoate, four-pointers
from Matt Ballin, Brett Stewart and Kieran Foran and three goals from
Jamie Lyon sealed the victory in front of a crowd of 31,894.
by the extra week off, the Sea Eagles came racing out of the blocks and
opened the scoring in the fourth minute through Ballin.
Broncos conceded two soft penalties allowing Manly to march their way
down the field and the hooker dived over from dummy-half to give his
side the perfect start.
From the resulting kick-off the visitors
almost hit back immediately when Corey Parker’s restart cannoned off the
crossbar and was regathered by Peter Wallace in front of the posts.
However, Manly held firm in defence to usher Yow Yeh into touch to snuff out the danger.
Reed then went close to grabbing his side’s first try of the night when
he hauled in Matt Gillett’s kick, only for teammate Dale Copley to
knock the ball out of his hands and the chance went begging.
setback appeared to knock the stuffing out the young Broncos, and
Copley then capped off a nightmare 60 seconds when he misread a pass
from Reed in front of his own posts.
The ever-alert Daly
Cherry-Evans latched onto the loose ball and teed up Will Hopoate who
scored his easiest try of a superb season.
Things got worse for
Anthony Griffin’s side in the 21st minute when Manly stretched their
advantage through Stewart’s try following a sharp pass from
The visitors had the last word of the half when Yow
Yeh produced a stunning take from a Gillett bomb, leaping over Michael
Robertson before twisting in mid-air to ground the ball over the line.
Sea Eagles started the second half in similar fashion when Hopoate
dived over for his second seven minutes after the restart.
Broncos hit back when Wallace bulldozed his way over from close range 10
minutes later, only for Foran to seal the game on the hour-mark when he
got in front of Gerard Beale to grab a Cherry-Evans kick and score near
the posts with Lyon adding the extras.
Griffin’s side battled
well until the end and Gillett was denied a try 10 minutes from time by
an amazing tackle from Lyon, before Copley added some respectability to
the scoring with a try in the corner late in the game.