Suncorp Stadium: Tom Trbojevic somehow played through a painful knee injury – and was bizarrely left on the field – as Manly were treated to an Adam Reynolds masterclass.
Trbojevic looked in pain early in the first half as the Broncos powered to a 38-0 triumph. It was a mammoth 84-point turnaround from last year’s Magic Round clash between the two clubs.
The Manly No. only returned from a medial collateral ligament injury last week after being sidelined for a month.
But his right knee was heavily strapped, and the cruellest image of how much pain Trbojevic was in came on the hour mark when Corey Oates scored in the left corner. One camera angle showed Trbojevic barely getting out of first gear and unable to accelerate when Oates looked destined to score. He then hobbled past Oates as the Broncos players broke into party mode.
TV commentators asked why coach Des Hasler was happy to leave Trbojevic on the field when they were no chance of winning.
Trbojevic himself said after the game: “It’s not too bad, I got a couple of knocks elsewhere, we’ll sort it out and be good to go next week.
“It [the loss] is hard to put into words, we weren’t good enough. I’ve got no real words for you.”
The Sea Eagles will be sweating on Trbojevic’s fitness given Parramatta and the Melbourne Storm await them in the next fortnight.
Corey Oates celebrates one of his two tries against Manly on Friday night.Credit:Getty
Trbojevic, one of the top three players in the game, continued to create chances on one leg. He made two tackle busts.
Younger brother Ben also sent a scare through the camp when he clutched at his left shoulder before the break, but was able to come out and finish the second half.
As courageous as Trbojevic was at the back, Reynolds was always going to make sure he was kept busy.
Reynolds was nothing short of sensational from the kick-off, which he managed to put over the dead-ball line and force a dropout after splitting Trbojevic and Kieran Foran.
Two minutes later he put through a cross-field kick for the first of Selwyn Cobbo’s three tries.
Reynolds’ best moment came when he finished the first half with a superb chip-and-chase kick for himself before diving over to give the Broncos a 14-0 lead.
The 31-year-old has been a breath of fresh air for the Broncos and the fans. They have now won four on the bounce, which they have not done since 2017, and are every chance to stretch it to five when they take on Newcastle next Thursday night.
The Broncos are happy to admit Reynolds has helped build camaraderie, which has been missing at Red Hill in recent years.
The little master thought he had a second try assist when he shaped to kick, only to pass the ball back inside for Kurt Capewell to reach out for the line. But replays showed Capewell spilled the ball.
Capewell was denied another try later in the half when he steamed on to a flat Tyson Gamble pass that was ruled forward.
Manly winger Reuben Garrick was singled out for special treatment by Reynolds, being shoved into touch on one occasion, then incorrectly being ruled to have knocked the ball on.
There were jokes about handing Reynolds the keys to the city. Plenty of people back home in Sydney would be just as happy to still cut him a spare set for Redfern.
The Sea Eagles’ best chance came when Trbojevic steamed on to a well-weighted Foran kick, but was stripped of the ball by a brilliant Billy Walters tackle.
Even when they had the chance to hit back before half-time, Manly centre Tolu Koula was stripped of the ball by Gamble, which paved the way for Reynolds to weave his magic.
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