Canberra stood tall on a tough Saturday night outing at Brookvale Oval but they couldn’t quite keep up with the gritty Sea Eagles who eked out a hard-fought 16-10 win in Round 11 this year.
The Raiders came into the game as considerable underdogs but they were quick out of the blocks with swift hands to the left seeing Jarrod Croker provide the opening try on a platter for Edrick Lee.
A Matt Ballin break from dummy-half in the 19th minute led to Jamie Lyon crossing out wide for the home side but Lee was at it again soon after as he leapt highest to grab a bomb and give Canberra a 10-4 lead.
They looked certain to take that lead into the halftime break too – until Manly went right as the clock ticked down and Lyon sent David Williams over untouched to close the gap to two.
It was a different Manly that returned in the second half and Steve Matai made their intentions clear when he put a huge hit on opposite number Blake Ferguson. Josh Papalii returned serve with an even bigger hit on Jamie Buhrer but the Sea Eagles took the lead for the first time in the 69th minute when Williams crept over in the corner and sealed victory five minutes later as Kieran Foran put in a perfectly placed grubber for Justin Horo to pounce.
The Raiders had an opportunity to send the game into golden point in the dying seconds but Jack Wighton couldn’t ground a loose ball in the in-goal and Manly secured a vital win.
Anthony Watmough was superb for Manly with a team-high 157 metres and 37 tackles while Canberra’s right-edge combination of Ferguson and Papalii both impressed with 172 and 121 metres respectively.