Roosters centre Joseph Manu has carried his side to a come from behind 24-20 victory over the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
After trailing 10-0 at halftime, the Kiwi centre scored a brace of tries through pure determination and grit in a superb individual performance to steal his underperforming side the two points in an absolute thrilling game of rugby league.
It was a heartbreaking loss for Brisbane, who were the better side for the majority of the match, with huge performances from their two young superstars in Kotoni Staggs and Payne Hass who were enormous in a losing side. Unfortunately, it was lapses in concentration in defence at key times which cost Kevin Walters men in the end.
The Broncos came with the attitude early, with halfback Adam Reynolds finding his strike centre Staggs with some early ball, which caused the Roosters defence some early headaches.
Brisbane then struck with the first blow, when Reynolds and Tesi Niu combined down the left-hand side to find a hard running Corey Oates who bulldozed his way over for the first try of the night. Reynolds missed the conversion and it was 4-0 to Brisbane after 21 minutes.
He has been a bit quiet so far in 2022, but Kotoni Staggs continued to make his mark, when the Broncos star threw off two Roosters defenders to score an explosive try and bring the Suncorp Stadium crowd to their feet. Reynolds converted and it was 10-0 to the home side.
The Roosters then had a golden chance to get on the board on the stroke of halftime, however backrower Sitili Tupouniua dropped the ball over the line following a superb Joey Manu grubber.
The Tricolours needed to get on the scoreboard first in the second half and they did so, when backrower Angus Crichton stepped past opposite Kurt Capewell close to the line, finding his half Sam Walker in support who scored the Roosters first try. Paul Momorovski converted and the Roosters trailed by 10-6.
All of the sudden the game turned with back-to-back tries from the away side, when Manu crashed over out of dummy half close to the line to provide the chance for his side to hit the lead. Sam Walker obliged and the Roosters led 12-10 after less than 15 minutes into the second half.
The Broncos then wrestled back the lead through Corey Oates who scored his second try, when he collected a superbly timed kick from Reynolds. Reynolds converted from out wide and Brisbane led 16-12 with less than 20 minutes remaining.
With the game seemingly in the Broncos favour, the Roosters own superstar centre Manu again barged his way over from dummy half to score his second try. It set the scene for young Queenslander Sam Walker to convert from the sideline to put the Roosters in front. He calmly converted.
Walker then thread the needle on the last to find a flying Sitili Tupouniua who charged onto the ball to score the match winner for the Roosters…or so we thought.
Broncos number seven then Reynolds threw up a late Hail Mary play with a kick over the top. The ball then careered away from the Roosters defence and bounced perfectly for Oates to score his hat-trick with minutes remaining on the clock. Unfortunately, Reynolds failed to converted from the sideline and the Roosters held on for what seemed an unlikely victory for the majority of the match.
Brisbane now face the defending Premiers at Penrith next Friday night, while the Roosters will return to the Sydney Cricket Ground where the face the Warriors next Sunday.