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Match Report - Round 20 2003

Dorn's miracle ball puts Broncos on ice
By James MacSmith

An impossible pass from Manly halfback Luke Dorn and some terrible ill discipline from Broncos veteran Andrew Gee made a forgettable week for Brisbane even worse last night as the Sea Eagles defeated the home side at Suncorp Stadium.

Brisbane led 20-16 midway through the second half and looked set to steal a win after Manly had dominated the first half before luck again deserted the Broncos.

In a week in which they lost star players Darren Lockyer and Gorden Tallis to injury for around a month, the loss will put a hole in their hopes for a top-four finish.

But it was an incredible effort from Dorn to put Aaron Cannings over that gave Manly a slender 22-20 lead after the conversion.

Dorn looked to pass to his right but spun his hands completely around to get the ball away to Cannings on the short side to score.

Manly then extended their lead with two goals in the final nine minutes to Luke Williamson, after Gee gave away some needless penalties with silly play, to secure the unexpected win.

Brisbane were hamstrung by the demands of their representative players who backed up from Friday night's Test, but Manly showed great spirit to fight back.

Brisbane started the second half with a lot more enthusiasm than the first and struck the first blow through Ben Ikin in the 46th minute after Shaun Berrigan dashed through the Manly line and offloaded to Ben Ikin, who struggled slowly to the line.

Michael De Vere converted and Brisbane had cut the half-time deficit to 14-12.

A rampaging Dane Carlaw scored in the 51st minute for the home side to hit the lead and when Berrigan, who had a sensational second half for Brisbane, sent Carl Webb over for a try with 15 minutes left, the Broncos looked set to surge home, but it wasn't to be.

Manly had the better of territory and possession early and were able to capitalise in the ninth minute.

After a strong 40-metre charge from Danny Lima, the Sea Eagles threw the ball wide to the left through quick hands, Brisbane were caught short and former Eel Scott Donald crossed for the visitors to lead 4-0.

With four players backing up less than a day after the Test match, centre Brent Tate being rested, and injured duo Lockyer and Tallis watching, Brisbane were looking to their non-representative players to lift for this game, and it was through Corey Parker the Broncos struck back almost immediately after Donald's try.

After successive penalties the home side found themselves in Manly's 20-metre zone for the first time of the night.

Ikin switched the point of attack down the left-hand blind side before Berrigan got a clever offload away for Kiwi Test representative Richard Swain to pass to Parker, who had little trouble shrugging off some poor Manly defence for Brisbane's first try of the night.

From a difficult angle near the sideline De Vere converted and the Broncos lead 6-4 after 14 minutes.

MANLY 26 (S Donald 2, A Watmough, A Cannings tries; L Williamson 5 goals) beat

BRISBANE 20 (C Parker, B Ikin, D Carlaw, C Webb tries; M De Vere 2 goals)

at Suncorp Stadium.

Crowd: 18,571.

Referee: Sean Hampstead.

TEAM:

Brendon Reeves, Scott Donald, Albert Torrens, Ben MacDougall, Mitch Creary, Ben Walker, Luke Dorn, Jason King, Chad Randall, Danny Lima, Solomon Haumono, Luke Williamson, Steve Menzies (c). Interchange: Aaron Cannings, Sam Harris, Tony Jensen, Kevin McGuinness.