Manly punishes Parramatta Eels
19 March, 2018, 12:00 am
AS Luke Brooks crossed for the match-winning try against the Storm at AAMI Park on Saturday night, he never lost faith it would happen.
The Wests Tigers were trailing 8-6 until a Ben Matulino one-handed pass found the halfback, who dived over to pinch a 10-8 victory and stun a bumper Melbourne crowd into silence.
Brooks told NRL.com that the side had practiced for such scenarios – finishing each half strongly – and it paid dividends.
“Even when they got that penalty goal to go in front, I still was confident we’d get the win,” Brooks told NRL.com.
“All the training we’ve done during pre-season. We’ve really worked hard at the end of the game, the last ten minutes of each half. It’s helped us.”
Brooks said he got a lucky bounce from Matulino to score but was still delighted at getting the two points.
The Tigers’ fast start helped them eventually overcome the defending premiers.
“Coming up against a team like Melbourne, you’ve got to start strong, otherwise you’re on the back foot from the start,” he said.
“That was definitely a plan to start and finish strong.”
His halves partner Benji Marshall also enjoyed a strong game.
Marshall loved wearing the number six jersey again. It was the first time at five-eighth since round 17 last year with the Broncos.
“It was a tough game,” he said.
“I was just happy to back in the number six, to be honest with you.
“It’s just a good feeling. We’ve only won one time here previously, I think, so it’s a big win for the boys. It’s still early and we’ve got a long way to go.
“I’m proud of the boys’ effort. I think the way we’ve started the season, we’re really starting to build a lot of trust in each other and really playing for each other.”
Marshall’s torpedo bombs and assorted ground kicks kept the Storm in their red zone.
“I don’t think our attack has been that great, but we’re backing it up with pretty good defence,” he said.
“It wasn’t flashy, it wasn’t brilliant, but we got the job done.”