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Match Report - Round 8 2005

Sea Eagles crash land
By 29/4/2005

A BLOODIED Shaun Berrigan grabbed his first career hat-trick of tries as Brisbane smashed competition leaders Manly at Suncorp Stadium.

The Broncos grounded the high flying Sea Eagles who until tonight had won five of their six games and conceded an average of just 19 points a game.

Tonight they couldn't control a rampant Bronco machine which piled on eight tries in a flashy display set up by a sizzling 30 point first half.

The victory makes Broncos leader Wayne Bennett the first coach in rugby league to win 300 games.

The score would have been more embarrassing for the visitors except Darren Lockyer landed just three from eight kicks, although some were from acute angles.

Prop Shane Webcke was a man possessed, belting the ball into Manly's defence along with fellow front-rower Petero Civoniceva.

It allowed giant forward Brad Thorn to come into the attack and further soften up Manly's pack before the ball found its way out the Broncos backs.

Berrigan, forced to leave the field to have a scalp wound bandaged in the opening minutes, returned to score in the 17th and 27th minute as Manly's defence buckled and then cracked under Brisbane's sustained attack.

He made it a hat-trick and 10 tries for the season soon after half time, crashing over to continue the onslaught.

Manly were forced to make 168 tackles to Brisbane's 87 and also missed 18 tackles which against Brisbane condemned them to a tough night.

Rugby league's oldest player Darren Smith looked like a rookie dashing through a yawning gap to score Brisbane's first try when the contest was just four minutes old.

A late inclusion for Test lock Tonie Carroll, Smith's try was set up by another late replacement Casey McGuire, filling in for injured hooker Barry Berrigan, who wrong-footed the Sea Eagles defence.

Centre Justin Hodges scored his second try of the season, replacement forward Neville Costigan got in on the act and when fullback Karmichael completed the 40 minute rout, Manly was down and out 30-0.

Sea Eagles fullback Brett Stewart had a woeful first half, dropping bombs and being tossed into touch by Berrigan trying to run the ball out of goal.

A few players later, Hodges carried Stewart over for his try.

Brisbane were on fire but they were fuelled by a mountain of early possession which they converted into six first half tries.

Manly's best chance of scoring in the first half was snuffed out by Lockyer after second-rower Steve Menzies broke into Brisbane's 20 metre zone.

They scored two consolation tries through forward Anthony Watmough, their best player, who showed some classy footwork to run around Brisbane fullback Hunt in the 60th minute and in the 76th minute when hooker Luke Williamson scrambled over wide out.

Coach Wayne Bennett had the luxury of taking champion play maker Darren Lockyer out of the game with 15 minutes remaining when teenager Berrick Barnes handed his first grade debut.

Brisbane Broncos 38:
Tries: S Berrigan 3, J Hodges, S Minto,
D Smith, N Costigan, K Hunt
D Lockyer  3 from 8.

Manly 12:

A Watmough, L Williamson
M Witt  2 from 2

Suncorp Stadium

Referee: Steve Clark

Crowd: 27,514


Brett Stewart
Scott Donald
Steve Mattai
Paul Stephenson
Chris Hicks
Michael Witt
Michael Monaghan
Ben Kennedy
Anthony Watmough
Steve Menzies
Daniel Heckenberg
Luke Williamson
Brent Kite
Jason King
Kylie Leuluai
Sam Harris
Shayne Dunley