A huge 50,859 sellout crowd packed Suncorp Stadium for Lockyer's last regular season game and saw Brisbane claim their 6th win on the trot with an 18-10 victory over the second place Sea Eagles to surge into the finals in hot form.
It wasn't all good news for Brisbane with Hoffman sustaining an injury which is likely to see him ruled out of the finals series. Brisbane will also be sweating on a visit to the judiciary for captain to be Thaiday who was put on report for a dangerous throw on Kite who may also be sidelined through injury. There is however some good news for Manly who will see stars Brett Stewart and Kieran Foran return for their first finals match having copped their punishments for involvement in an on field altercation during their clash with Melbourne.
Manly came into the game down on key troops but were ready to fight nonetheless up against a red hot Brisbane team and over 50,000 screaming Queenslanders. Brisbane used the crowd and took charge of the game early. Brisbane turned the dominance into a three tries to zero first half lead. McCullough claimed the first try with a solo effort in the 18th minute and Wallace's boot helped Yow Yeh to the corner in the 30th making conversions impossible for Parker before a Wallace ball found Gillett in good position to allow Parker to help Brisbane to a 14 nil lead at half time.
A half time spray from Coach Hasler kicked Manly into gear for the second 40 to help Manly find their first points of the game early in the second half. Tries seemed to flow freely for a passage until Video Referee Clark denied one to halt the Manly progress. Williams crossed in the 45th and Cherry-Evans in the 47th with one conversion from Lyon helping Manly into double figures. Manly had one denied in the 50th and this ignited a fight back from Brisbane who would not give away this one. Brisbane eventually put one final try on the board in the 63rd minute to Beale, backing themselves to defend a lead over over a converted try.
Defend it they did, despite some errors with ball in hand, Brisbane made sure they did enough to keep Manly out maintaining the 8 point lead to take the game 18-10. The score line wasn't enough to propel them to second but it takes them into the finals on a hot streak. Manly wouldn't be too displeased with their efforts either and have the returns of Foran and Stewart to look forward to for their finals clash with the Cowboys.
Brisbane Broncos 18 defeated Manly Sea Eagles 10
National Rugby League - Round 26 - Sunday September 4, 2011 4:00pm
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Referee: Jared Maxwell and Adam Devcich
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: Daniel Eastwood and Gavin Reynolds
Halftime: Brisbane Broncos 14 Manly Sea Eagles 0
BRISBANE BRONCOS (18)
Tries: Matt Gillett, Andrew McCullough, Jharal Yow Yeh, Gerard Beale
Conversions: Corey Parker (1/4)
MANLY SEA EAGLES (10)
Tries: Tony Williams, Daly Cherry-Evans
Conversions: Jamie Lyon (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good afternon and welcome to a packed Suncorp Stadium for the last regular season match for Rugby League legend Darren Lockyer which sees the Brisbane Broncos take on the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. The second placed Eagles are hoping to rain on the Brisbane parade, but with a few big names missing due to suspension, Manly may have some trouble and Brisbane could fight for second place if they manage to bridge a big point differential difference.
The Toyota Cup curtain raiser saw the Brisbane under 20s side smash their maroon opposition with a thumping 62-nil victory.
TEAM NEWS: Ben Hannant will start for the Broncos with Scott Anderson moving to the bench, where Mitchell Dodds in jumper 18 will join him with David Hala dropping off the bench. Manly will be without Will Hopoate for another week, Robertson will cover the fullback position and Whare in jumper 20 will come in at wing. Mauro in jumper 14 will cover the lock position and Seu Seu and Robinson in 18 and 19 respectively have been added to the Manly bench.
1 min: Game on, Brisbane will have first use of the football.
3 min: Very vocal crowd here at Suncorp and both sides have started the game solidly, Ballin has taken Manly's first kick of the night.
4 min: Brisbane find an attacking opportunity early and McCullogh has earned Brisbane a repeat set forcing a line drop out with a perfect grubbing kick which forces Manly to bat it dead.
6 min: PENALTY to Manly against Wallace for a shepherd.
6 min: Wonderful mark from Hoffman at the back and Brisbane are starting to take control of this game.
7 min: Yow Yeh makes a break and finds some open play.
8 min: And Yow Yeh turns the ball over 20 out from the Manly line.
9 min: Manly starting to make some good metres in attack and turning this match into a real arm wrestle.
10 min: Superb last ditch attempt at the line from Broncos on the left flank comes to nothing when a Te'o pass is intercepted.
11 min: PENALTY to Manly against Thaiday for not being square at marker.
11 min: Manly fail to find touch and Hoffman runs it in.
13 min: Both sides contesting the game up the middle, before Hoffman gets helped off the field having jarred his knee collecting a bomb.
15 min: Broncos continue to look the more likely, but Manly too are threatening.
17 min: Manly knock on in goal and Brisbane have a 20 metre tap.
18 min: Oldfield fails to clean up at the back and Brisbane has the ball ten out.
18 min: PENALTY to Brisbane against Buhrer for holding down and Brisbane take a quick tap.
18 min: VIDEO REFEREE for possible Brisbane TRY.
19 min: TRY
TRY to the Broncos!
McCullough takes the tap and barges over for the first try of the afternoon. Parker just pushes it left with the boot. Word on Hoffman is that he is unlikely to return this afternoon.
Brisbane Broncos 4-0
22 min: Manly playing their way back into this one, challenging Brisbane strongly.
23 min: Brisbane halt their own attack, turning the ball over 20 out from the Manly line.
24 min: Manly earn a repeat set through a midfield raid which ends with Gillett collecting the ball and being chased down and trapped in goal.
25 min: PENALTY to the Sea Eagles against Glenn for a steal.
26 min: Ballin turns the ball over to halt the Manly attack.
27 min: PENALTY to Brisbane against Lyon for holding down in the play the ball to help Brisbane up field.
27 min: Brisbane earn a repeat set forcing a goal line drop out.
29 min: PENALTY to the Broncos against Ballin for hands in the play the ball.
31 min: TRY
TRY to the Broncos!
Crossfield kick from Wallace to the corner and Yow Yeh superbly collects it in a challenge with Oldfield to put the ball down to score. They're not making it easy for Parker who skews this one to the right.
Brisbane Broncos 8-0
34 min: Brisbane beginning to dominate this game now as Manly don't appear to have an appropriate response.
35 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Brisbane TRY.
36 min: TRY
TRY to the Broncos!
A perfectly weighted bomb from Wallace is collected by Gillett who struggles through defenders to spin out and score. Parker's easiest shot of the night and he nails it.
Brisbane Broncos 14-0
38 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Brisbane TRY!
38 min: NO TRY! Video Referee Steve Clark finds a knock on in the preceeding play.
39 min: Cherry-Evans earns the Eagles a repeat set forcing the goal line drop out with a short kick Beale has to play at.
40 min: Manly right on the attack in the final minutes but it comes to nothing as a ball goes into touch as the hooter blows to keep the Eagles scoreless for the half. Brisbane lead Manly 14-0.
41 min: Second half under way.
42 min: PENALTY to the Broncos against Buhrer for holding down in the play the ball.
43 min: Brisbane's right side attack threatens, but Te'o knocks on into the defence and Manly are let off the hook.
44 min: Word on Hoffman is that there fears he has a posterior cruciate ligament injury which could rule him out of the finals and most of the four nations.
45 min: Beale helps Manly to six again getting hands on the ball 20 out from his own line.
46 min: TRY
TRY to the Sea Eagles!
Ballin from dummy half dummies and throws a short ball to Tony Williams to barge over and score Manly's first. Lyon converts.
Brisbane Broncos 14-6
49 min: TRY
TRY to the Sea Eagles!
Cherry-Evans dummies inside and goes outside to put the ball through hands to Oldfield to make the break down the left flank before the ball comes back in to Cherry-Evans to complete the TRY. Conversion attempt from Lyon unsuccessful.
Brisbane Broncos 14-10
50 min: Broncos turn to get the ball back and reject it, dropping a bomb.
50 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Manly TRY.
50 min: NO TRY! PENALTY Broncos.
51 min: Broncos fighting their way back into this game now, unwilling to let it go.
53 min: Manly having no problems getting through there sets and really want this game.
54 min: Broncos turn it over just as they find some attacking position.
55 min: Jack Reed doing a superb job diffusing bombs at the back with Hoffman off the field, marks one in goal and races to the 20 then 30.
56 min: PENALTY to the Broncos against Rodney for a steal.
57 min: Brisbane continue to fight but Manly are wise to it, fighting in attack and defence.
58 min: Manly stop some of their own attack now turning it over as they find some attacking position.
61 min: Both sides getting through their sets well and this game is ripe for the taking.
61 min: The Eagles turn it over on the first to offer Brisbane a good opportunity.
64 min: TRY
TRY to the Broncos!
Wallace gets it on ot Beale who finds a way through them to score Brisbane's first of the second 40. Conversion attempt from Parker unsuccessful.
Brisbane Broncos 18-10
65 min: Brisbane make an error first play after the try and offer Manly an opportunity.
66 min: Manly refuse to complete their set, turning it over on the last.
68 min: PENALTY to the Sea Eagles. Thaiday upends Kite, the tackle goes horribly wrong getting him above the horizontal and he is put on report, Kite is in trouble and will be escorted off the field. Thaiday could be in worse trouble trouble and may not see a final match pending his judiciary hearing.
70 min: PENALTY to the Broncos against Seu Seu in possession.
70 min: PENALTY to the Broncos against Watmough for a steal.
72 min: Brisbane squander the opportunity to put the game out of reach by turning the ball over.
74 min: Brisbane doing well to defend their lead, with the clock now on their side, they all but have this.
75 min: Broncos refuse to put the cue in the rack turning the ball over on the last 20 out.
76 min: And Manly give the ball right back, turning it over on the first.
77 min: Brisbane get a tackle count restart after Cherry-Evans puts the leg out to a grubber. 77 min: Bit of an error-fest in the shadows of fulltime with Brisbane turning it over on the first. 79 min: PENALTY to the Broncos against Robinson for being inside the ten to give Brisbane the opportunity to put some final points on.
80 min: Brisbane earn a repeat set with 40 seconds on the clock, but appear ready to clock out now.
80 min: Brisbane take the final play and the game converting their 18-10 lead to an 18-10 victory.