‘Something happened’: Luke Brooks costs Sea Eagles controversial try in Jarome Luai scrap

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A controversial try has left Manly fuming after the Panthers secured a 32-22 win in their game at Penrith on Sunday afternoon.

The Sea Eagles had started with three tries to one and had built up a 12-4 lead by the 26th minute thanks to a hat-trick from Tommy Talau before the Panthers struck back.

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But with 20 minutes left, there was a controversial moment that divided the fanbase after the Panthers scored a try despite a tussle between Jarome Luai and Luke Brooks.

Manly were still in the game at 22-12, but Liam Henry stormed in with his second NRL try to eventually take a 28-12 lead.

Fox League commentators immediately began to wonder if Luai had impeded Brooks, leaving a gap for Daine Laurie to run through and get Henry across the finish line.

But Andrew Voss quickly changed his mind.

“Brooks has gone on – I can’t take away Penrith’s attempt,” Voss said. “You could say he denied him the place – he has no interest in taking the place.”

“If Brooks shows he’s trying to walk away, I’ll give Penrith the go. But he’s trying to keep going.”

He added: “Common sense says it’s worth a try.”

And to Voss’ point: common sense prevailed when the bunker confirmed the four-point lead.

Cooper Cronk said it was difficult to say who started the scuffle and agreed that it was the right decision.

Cameron Smith told Channel 9: “He had the opportunity to get out of there, didn’t he? He could have just carried on playing, Luke Brooks.”

Andrew Johns said: “With Luke Brooks you don’t see that at all, little things like that. Jarome, on the other hand, loves it.”

Smith said it shows the children at home that they have to “play until the whistle.”

The Sea Eagles were far from happy: referee Gerard Sutton told Brooks he should have left the scene, while captain Daly asked Cherry-Evans if he had seen “what he did”.

Referring to an alleged facial massage by Luai on Ben Trbojevic, who was lying on the ground, Cherry-Evans said: “That’s where it started.”

After the match, Seibold said Brooks was “not a known fighter” before Cherry-Evans interjected.

“I think he saw something there and just stood up for his teammate,” Cherry-Evans said.

“I don’t think he was provoked and I liked what he did. I don’t think he wasted an opportunity. There was something there.”

When asked if he thought the Panthers would have scored if Brooks had simply returned to the defensive line, Cherry-Evans said, “I’m not sure.”

Seibold said he “stands by his buddy” and added that Brooks “has been a really fair player for a really long time.”

Seibold and Cherry-Evans wouldn’t say what was said, but the reaction from a guy like Brooks must have been brutal.

“Something happened to Benny Trbojevic on the ground and he was looking after his friend,” said Seibold.

“If you dig a little deeper and look closely at what happened there, Brooksy is not a fighter.

“In the end they scored a goal, so they were too clever for us.”

When Luai was questioned about the incident, he played the ball back to Manly’s side.

“Until they say something about it (what was said), it is up to them,” Luai said.

“There was a bit of emotion. That’s just the competitor in me.”

Public opinion was quite divided on the verdict.

“I can’t give that. Luai is clearly hindering the defense. What a joke,” wrote one fan.

“How can this be a try when Brooks is being held back by Luai? What does the bunker see?” added another.

On the other hand, another fan posted: “Luke Brooks would rather face Luai than defend himself LMAOOOO.”

Another commented: “Luke Brooks intervenes in a commotion and costs his team a try. Brilliant.”

It was a breathtaking game dominated by the full-backs.

For the Panthers, Brian To’o finished with 261m from 18 runs and three tries, Sunia Turuva scored twice and ran 229m, while Daine Laurie had a line break, two line break assists and a try assist and a massive 344m from 26 runs.

For Manly, Talau finished with four tries while Jason Saab added one of his own. Both men ran over 100m, while for the Sea Eagles, centre Reuben Garrick scored his team’s highest try of 209m.

Laurie was of tremendous importance to the Panthers in the absence of regular fullback Dylan Edwards.

“It was my best game of the year,” he said.

“I was sitting on the bench a lot, so when I got my chance I had to get going straight away.

“Dylan is out, so I had big shoes to fill. I wanted to build momentum for my team and tried to do my best and play like Dylan.”

Coach Ivan Cleary praised the way Laurie took his chance to play a full 80 minutes in the number 1 jersey.

“He was outstanding today,” Cleary said.

“I’m really happy for him. He’s one of us here and he came back looking for an opportunity and he’s been patient.”

It was a tough afternoon for the Sea Eagles as backrow forward Haumole Olakau’atu did not return after leaving the field in the first half with a calf strain.

With Matt Jones, NCA Newswire

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