Manly Sea Eagles snatch late win over Brisbane
Manly winger David Williams scored in the last minute to snatch a thrilling 24-22 win for the NRL premiers over Brisbane in a high class clash on Friday night.
Williams dived over the right corner for the match-winning try after centre Steve Matai had made a searching break down field from well inside his own half.
Brisbane had been clinging to a 22-20 lead after Matt Gillett, who was pitched into the centres to replace Justin Hodges (ankle ligament) who was ruled out just before kick-off.
The lead changed hands several times with Manly stetting a hot tempo with some early shifts which opened up the clash.
The attack of both sides kept the 40,000 Suncorp Stadium crowd entertained until Williams delivered the last-minute knockout blow.
Gillett, a former Bribie Island bricklayer, built an almost irresistible case to be handed his eagerly awaited representative debut for Queensland with his two-try effort.
He and Corey Parker, who made 157 metres and pulled off 35 tackles, were outstanding for Brisbane.
Unfortunately Parker had one of his rare off nights with the boot, missing all four of his conversion attempts before being replaced by Corey Norman who kicked the Broncos' only goal of the match.
Brisbane outscored Manly five tries to four with the difference being Jamie Lyon's three from four conversions.
Lyon was instrumental in Manly leaving the field 14-12 up at halftime after slipping a superb behind-the-back pass to Matai, who scored in the 37th minute.
Manly's Anthony Watmough was forced from the field late in the game with what looked a shoulder or arm injury after being smashed in a tackle by Brisbane's Alex Glenn.
Manly hooker Matt Ballin was a pillar in defence, churning through 57 tackles.
His opposite number Andrew McCullough was almost as busy with 44 tackles on top of his 61 against the Warriors in Auckland last weekend.
Manly's narrow victory continued their impressive recent streak of wins at Suncorp Stadium where they've won their past four games.