Penrith coach Ivan Cleary shocked the rugby league world after dumping Luke Lewis as captain and promoting Kevin Kingston in his place but the move worked wonders as Penrith stormed to an upset 22-4 win over the Sea Eagles at the foot of the mountains in Round 12 last year.
In a tough battle that only saw the home side run away with it late, defence dominated the early stages with both sides denied great try scoring chances by desperate covering tackles. Neither side bothered the scoreboard attendant until the 31st minute when Luke Walsh dummied his way through and offloaded to Ryan Simpkins who showed great hands to gather it in before sending Lachlan Coote on his way.
Manly responded almost immediately, with Dean Whare crossing in the corner – Jamie Lyon’s missed conversion leaving it at 6-4 at the halftime break.
The scoring slowed again after halftime but Penrith finally crossed for their second after 61 minutes when a Coote grubber was fumbled by the Sea Eagles and Brad Tighe dived on the scraps to make it 12-4. A Walsh grubber brought another try as Geoff Daniela won the race and Lewis made a point to his coach when he broke through to score a clever solo try in the dying stages.
Penrith completed 83 per cent of their sets and ran for 1556 metres to Manly’s 1149 with winger Josh Mansour enjoying a remarkable day out with 204 metres and 17 tackle-breaks. Tim Grant also chipped in with 185 metres.
Matt Ballin made 51 tackles for the visitors.