Well – that was good, wasn’t it.
A veritable pumping of an old enemy in Eastern Suburbs Roosters for was it not they who took Bob Fulton,Mike Eden and Paul Vautin and gave back only Noel Cleal, Ron Gibbs, Kerry Boustead, Ian Schubert, Marty Gurr and you could throw in Terry Hill and Willie Mason and be leaving out a few in a fairly long and strong list of those who’ve seen the light beaming from Ken Arthurson’s cheque book and scooted across the bridges to these our northern beaches.
But as the kids would tell you: whatevs, man! Enough of ancient enmities! Instead let’s get all Zen and focus on the now, and the fact that Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are one game – one win! – from the 2021 NRL Telstra Premiership grand final.
And that, sports fans, after the four-and-oh-my-Lord start to the season, is a bit sexy indeed.
Jake Trbojevic would not, perhaps, be often described as a sexy man but his pass for his brother Tom Trbojevic to split the Roosters in the 12th minute of Friday night’s sudden death semi final in Mackay was the sexiest thing north of famous Chard Road.
See it again: Our Jake takes a perfect spiral pass from dummy-half Lachlan Croker and with the ball in two hands goes forward to the line. He’s got a mark: Roosters baby-rake Ben Marschke. And the plan is this: he’s going to throw his brother at the boy. See how you go with big Tommy, kid.
It’s not just a two-man show, though. Josh Aloiai is on Jake’s left, Kieran Foran is outside him and deeper, while Josh Schuster is another body wider again. And they are all in motion.
And looming in the middle, just off Jake’s left hip is the greatest game of all’s greatest threat of all: T.Trbojevic. And young Marschke knows: the big man is a-comin.
Jake holds the ball up just so which draws a perfect split second of hesitation from Marschke before Turbo is set free and flying.
And as all in League Land know, Tommy needs only the barest scintilla to sluice and destroy. Jake’s pass was Moses parting the Red Sea.
Marschke tries to tackle the flying man-beast but falls of him like a couple bits of hay falling off the hindquarters of a very fast horse.
And Tom is away.
James Tedesco, a champion, comes to meet Tom and does his best going low. But Tommy puts some footwork on and pops for Foran who scores and roars like Russell Crowe rousing gladiators. Come on, Balboa, something like it, with swear words.
Big Tom had scored Manly’s first try and had a hand in Manly’s third one, too, without even touching the ball. His presence on the left was a threat strong enough that Daly Cherry-Evans could take Croker’s pass from the scrum and step inside Marschke, Tedesco and Sitili Tupouniua.
And soon enough it was 18-blot. And Manly were doing to the Roosters what the Storm had done to them: an early, monstrous pizzling. The worst kind.
It never got better for the Chooks who’d been brave and strong and gone longer than they had any right to. They were better than three-quarters of the competition with ten players out.
Respect, Roosters, and without question.
But when Dylan Walker began to run and Tommy barged over again and Morgan Harper redeemed himself and Jason Saab had a moment on the right wing with Martin Taupau, poking his tongue out as he flew down the flank on the way to his 26th try of the year, it was out the door Roosters went, 42-6. It seemed about right.
And a long time since round one in March when the Roosters romped over for nine tries and won 46-4.
And so to South Sydney Rabbitohs who have a particularly fruity chapter in their fabled Book of Feuds about “their” players who crossed bridges.
They also have one of two men who has scored more tries than Saab, Alex Johnston, who has scored 27 tries.
The other man with 27 tries?
Thomas “Turbo” Trbojevic. The Great Destroyer.
What a player.
And what a Preliminary Final at Suncorp Stadium looms.
And we will talk more of it.
Because how very good is it.