Broncos overcome Payne Haas injury scare to hold out Manly

Payne Haas was cleared of serious injury and finally delivered a pinch of good news for NSW coach Michael Maguire as coach Anthony Seibold blasted a game-changing decision “as one of the softest penalties ever” in a Magic Round cliffhanger.

Haas, who will be the first name on the Blues team sheet when it comes to forwards, was assisted from the field with what looked like a serious leg injury in the second half, adding to NSW’s growing headaches after injuries to Nathan Cleary, Tom Trbojevic, Cameron Murray and Mitchell Moses.

But only minutes later, the Broncos enforcer returned to the field and finished the match as back-up halfback Jock Madden kicked Brisbane to a 13-12 win.

Asked about Haas’ injury, coach Kevin Walters said: “He’s fine. He got a knee to a calf which triggered a nerve problem in his big toe. He’s right now. He’s still limping and not right, but he should be right for next week, which is gold for us.”

Haas’ Magic Round miracle was one of the stories of the night as the Sea Eagles fought back from a 12-0 half-time deficit through tries to Reuben Garrick and Ray Vaega to level the scores with 10 minutes left.

But having given up big leads to lose to the Raiders and Dolphins in consecutive weeks, the Sea Eagles couldn’t pull off a Houdini act of their own as Madden potted the winning field goal from 15 metres with five minutes left after Jaxson Paulo was penalised for a high shot on Deine Mariner.

Seibold said a first-half sin-binning for prop Taniela Paseka was a “really tough call”, but was most incensed by the penalty against Paulo, who tried to dive on Mariner as he was on the ground.

“The last penalty? Let’s be fair dinkum, I thought it was one of the softest penalties ever,” Seibold said.

“I was really proud of the guys. I thought they were really tough and there was a hard edge to how we played our game. Ultimately we came here to get a win so we’re not happy with that. I was proud of the toughness the boys went after it with.”

Without Tom Trbojevic for the first time this year after his hamstring tear, the Sea Eagles fought back with Tolu Koula shining in the No.1 despite dropping a high bomb which led to the Broncos’ first try through Brendan Piakura.

But he was outshone by Queensland Origin hopeful Selwyn Cobbo, who also filled in at fullback for Reece Walsh (knee), and had a barnstorming night.

“I’ve got to give Manly some credit,” Walters said.

“They really stayed at it for the whole 80 minutes. We picked up one try when they had 12 men and just watching the game, it just seemed a bit weird. The referee let the game flow and it fatigued both teams.

“A lot of our scores have been blowouts either way, so a good tight game is good for the mind and good for the soul.”

It was the third straight year the Broncos had beaten Manly during Magic Round and the Sea Eagles will tumble out of the top eight for the first time this season.1

The field goal from Scone Thoroughbreds junior Madden is enough to get Brisbane home in a “photo finish”. Cherry-Evans had a chance to snatch victory for Manly but his two-point field-goal attempt was astray. Please stand by for Adam Pengilly’s match report.



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