The NRL’s crackdown on high shots has had an immediate impact with the Brisbane Broncos having two men sent to the sin-bin and a string of players on report in a 50-6 loss to Manly as Magic Round got underway.
At one point in the second half the Broncos were down to 11 men, with Jordan Riki and Tyson Gamble both in the bin.
The Sea Eagles took advantage, scoring twice in three minutes, on the way to cracking the 50-point barrier.
Brisbane now fall to 15th on the ladder, behind only the Bulldogs.
More to come.
Manly Sea Eagles vs Brisbane Broncos
Tigers click at last in win over Knights
The NRL’s crackdown on high shots kept a low profile but there were still four players sin-binned as Wests Tigers clicked in a 36-18 thumping of Newcastle to kick-start Magic Round in Brisbane.
Luke Brooks and Moses Mbye toyed with the Knights’ defence while Adam Doueihi adjusted to his move from five-eighth to centre with a confident two-try performance.
Sin-bins were expected after the NRL’s mid-week crackdown on high tackles but – perhaps in a sign players heeded the warning – a second-half report on Mitch Barnett was the only action taken.
There were still four sin-bins for repeat ruck infringements though, Tex Hoy, Joe Ofahengaue, Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Mbye – the last three of those in the final 15 minutes – all sent after repeat penalties with their sides defending the line.
It was a forgettable night for Hoy, who also spilt two kicks that led to tries after being a late call-up for the injured Kalyn Ponga (groin).
Doueihi cruised over for one of those with Hoy on the bench, the Knights’ defence flimsy even before they temporarily lost a man.
Mbye, Brooks and Doueihi combined to set up or score five of the Tigers’ first six tries, the Knights without a look at the opposition’s line inside the first 19 minutes.
When they did get a sniff Hymel Hunt made the most of it, diving over to temporarily halt the flow of points.
They came close twice more late in the half, some desperate Mbye defence and a review for knock-on saving Tommy Talau’s blushes after he caught a bomb and frantically flicked the ball infield for Starford To’a to dive on.
Brodie Jones was more clinical, scoring immediately after the restart to make it 24-8.
Talau tight-roped his way along the left wing for his second try to reinstate the lead before Ofahenguae’s sin-binning for the Tigers’ repeat infringements again gave Newcastle hope.
Knights captain Jayden Brailey obliged with a try but they botched a clean break when another try would have made it a 16-point game with 10 minutes to play.
Fitzgibbon and Mbye followed their teammates to the bin in the final stages, Tyson Frizell with a consolation try for the Knights with the last play.