The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT - PETER BADEL SUN­CORP STA­DIUM


MANLY and the Blues copped a mas­sive blow last night as Tom Tr­bo­je­vic was helped from the field with sus­pected knee and an­kle dam­age plac­ing him in doubt for the rest of the sea­son.

The star full­back limped off in the 65th minute of the loss to Bris­bane and will have scans upon re­turn­ing to Syd­ney to­day.

Tr­bo­je­vic suf­fered the in­jury when he was tack­led by David Mead while try­ing to reel in a bomb which had bounced. He lost pos­ses­sion in the in­ci­dent, which led to a Bris­bane try to kick­start their late surge to vic­tory.

Manly coach Trent Bar­rett said the rule­book needed to adopt a com­mon­sense ap­proach and pe­nalise play­ers for tack­ling op­po­nents in the air even if the ball has bounced.

“He is pretty badly hurt. He could be gone for the year, I don’t know,” he said.

“Not only has it cost us the game, it’s cost us one of our best play­ers.

“The an­kle is the main con­cern.”

The young full­back was sen­sa­tional un­til that point and was out­play­ing his op- posite, Dar­ius Boyd. Af­ter he left, the Sea Ea­gles fell apart and they lost what had looked a sure win.

The much-hyped Ori­gin showdown be­tween Daly Cherry-Evans and Anthony Mil­ford de­gen­er­ated into a fizzer as the Bron­cos pro­duced a great es­cape.

In the ul­ti­mate game of two halves, the Bron­cos over­came a first-half siesta, fight­ing back from a 14-0 deficit to dis­pose of Manly be­fore 44,127 fans.

The bat­tle be­tween Cherry-Evans and Mil­ford for the Queensland No.6 jer­sey was touted as the cen­tre­piece of the sec­ond in­stal­ment of the dou­ble header. But when the dust had set­tled, nei­ther sub­mit­ted an em­phatic case to be a Ma­roon if cham­pion pivot Johnathan Thurston (shoul­der) fails to re­cover.

Un­less Corey Nor­man pro­duces a blinder to­day for the Eels against the Roost­ers, Cow­boys pivot Michael Mor­gan de­serves to be on standby for Thurston for the Ori­gin opener.

Cherry-Evans showed some nice touches to help Manly to a 14-0 lead, but with the game on the line he dis­ap­peared quicker than David Cop­per­field as the Bron­cos surged.

Mil­ford, mean­while, also pro­duced a mixed bag, lack­ing pen­e­tra­tion in the first half be­fore play­ing with more surety af­ter the break to help the Bron­cos to their fifth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory.

If any­thing, both were over­shad­owed by pint-sized Kodi Niko­rima. The Bron­cos half ig­nited the fight­back, set­ting up Mil­ford’s 44th-minute try be­fore scor­ing the solo try that gave the hosts a cru­cial 18-14 lead 14 min­utes from full-time.

It wasn’t a win for the ages but the Bron­cos are the mas­ters of hang­ing tough. When Corey Oates crossed for his sec­ond try five min­utes from the siren for a 10-point break, the plucky Sea Ea­gles were shot.

Manly rocked the Bron­cos with a three-try blitzkrieg to start the game.

Tr­bo­je­vic used his 100kg frame to barge over. Then, hooker Api­sai Koroisau caught Bris­bane nap­ping with a dummy-half snipe.

And when Jorge Tau­fua crossed af­ter the Tr­bo­je­vic broth­ers, Tom and Jake, com­bined in mid­field, the Bron­cos were down 14-0.

Tom Tr­bo­je­vic clutches at his knee af­ter the awk­ward fall last night. Pic­ture: Getty

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