NRL trials 2024: Tristan Sailor makes statement for Broncos vs Wynnum Manly Seagulls

Tristan Sailor put on a show in an epic Broncos comeback victory while the Dolphins scored 58 points in a clinic, with one NRL player running in a first half hat-trick.

SAILOR SHINES AS BRONCOS STORM HOME IN COMEBACK

It may have only been a trial game but Broncos fullback Tristan Sailor has once again proved he is too good to be stuck in reserve grade after a standout showing in a 26-16 win over their Queensland Cup feeder-club Wynnum Manly Seagulls.

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Sailor was heavily involved on Saturday afternoon, setting up three tries and scoring another as Brisbane overcame an early 10-0 deficit after Wynnum dominated early proceedings at Kougari Oval.

Brisbane’s first try of the game came after a relieving penalty saw the Broncos march up the field, with a beautiful cut-out pass from Sailor seeing Bailey Trew score in the corner.

Coby Black did well taking the ball right up to the line in the lead-up while Ben Te Kura, who stands at an NRL record 205 centimetres tall, ran a strong decoy to draw in the defence and open up space on the outside.

Sailor was involved in Brisbane’s second try too as he soared into the air to bat Black’s bomb backwards, with Josiah Karapani pouncing to score in the right corner.

Having enjoyed the better opportunities of the two teams for the majority of the second period, Brisbane then had to switch on and defend multiple sets on its own line.

When play resumed in the third period though the Seagulls extended their lead to 16-8 as Josh Stuckey barged over with 18 minutes left on the clock.

But the Broncos went on to run in 18 unanswered points from that stage to charge to victory, inspired by Sailor who came up clutch again with a perfectly-weighted banana kick for Ethan Quai-Ward to score.

There was plenty of skill on display as fancy footwork and a late offload from Karapani then sent Joshua Patston flying down the left edge, with a brilliant flick pass almost putting Sailor over if not for a last-ditch tackle.

The Broncos spilled the ball on the next tackle to turn it over but the Seagulls returned the favour with an error of their own and this time Brisbane capitalised as Creedence Toia scored after Wynnum failed to defuse a Black grubber.

That try gave Brisbane a 20-16 lead and Sailor then iced the victory with a sensational individual effort as he turned on the pace to beat multiple defenders and score.

Sailor remains a strong back-up if anything happens to Reece Walsh but once again proved on Saturday that he could well also be a dynamic option off the bench if Brisbane can find room for him.

Sailor impressed with every opportunity he had last season, averaging 125 metres while recording six try assists, five linebreak assists and 13 tackle busts.

The 25-year-old signed a two-year extension with Brisbane that keeps him at Red Hill until the end of the 2025 season.

While Sailor was the standout for the Broncos there were plenty of other promising performances from Brisbane’s young and emerging talent, with Xavier Willison pressing his NRL claims by helping lay the foundation up front.

Young hooker Blake Mozer didn’t have too much room to shine but was often crisp with his service from dummy-half while Black had nice touches, particularly with his last tackle options to have a hand in a few tries.

Deine Mariner, who is pushing for a spot in Brisbane’s NRL backline, flashed his speed at various points in the game but had a moment to forget when he was bundled into touch in the 29th minute for what should have been a try.

HAT-TRICK HERO IN DOLPHINS’ 58-POINT ROUT

Elsewhere, Tesi Niu scored a first half hat-trick as the Dolphins stormed to a 58-6 win over the Central Queensland Capras in the later trial game.

Niu actually could have had four tries in the first half having just been held up over the line in the play before the Dolphins opened the scoring, with Valynce Te Whare instead nabbing the first four-pointer of the game.

It came after a pinpoint Kurt Donoghoe kick was misjudged by Kurtis Farr, sitting up for Te Whare to scoop and score.

Niu made no mistake a few minutes later though after Donoghoe shaped to play it short to Oryn Keeley, who ran the decoy and drew in the Capras defence, opening up space out wide on the left edge.

Niu put winger Jack Bostock away and was backing up in support to finish it off, seeing the Dolphins push ahead 10-0 after seven minutes.

The two Dolphins halves later combined for a highlight-reel try in the 17th minute as Lachlan Hubner ran the decoy against the angle, with Donoghoe instead playing it out the back to halfback Gerome Burns who showed off his speed to race away and score.

The Capras eventually hit back as Brandon Clarke shaped to pass from dummy-half and caught the Dolphins defence napping, going right through to score.

It was the only highlight of the half though as Niu scored his second, with strong decoy running from Keeley doing the trick again as the Dolphins centre used his footwork close to the line to beat the defence.

Niu capped off a stellar half as Burns went to the air, recovering well from a poor pass and Bostock rose above to bat it to Brent Woolf, who found the 22-year-old for his third of the game.

The Dolphins picked up where they left off in the third quarter as they ran the ball on the last tackle, with Caleb Jackson straightening up to score and extend the lead to 34-6.

Soon after the Dolphins were in again, with a sharp Brent Woolf playing it short from dummy-half to a charging Cooper Jenkins as the prop crashed over next to the posts.

Woolf then scored one of his own as he strolled through a gaping hole close to the line before Manase Kaho spun over to bring up the half-century for the Dolphins soon after.

The Dolphins had one final try in them as Jenkins scored his second of the game, this time on the back of a beautiful short ball from Trey Brown after the hooker took it right up to the line.

Originally published as NRL trials: Sailor’s statement for Broncos, Dolphins’ hat-trick hero in 58-point rout