Manly came to AAMI Park without theircaptain, five-eighth and star lock and should have walked out with the twopoints.
Leading 19-10 with nine minutes left, theSea Eagles surrendered two tries before eventually going down to arch rivalsMelbourne 22-19 in front of 13, 273 fans.
Despite missing key personnel the visitorslooked the better side for much of the match but may have missed the cooler,more experienced heads of Jamie Lyon, Kieran Foran and Glenn Stewart in thedying moments.
Just one successful conversion from fiveattempts had Manly supporters praying for the boot of their skipper who wasleft watching 10,000 kilometers away.
Added to this was the fact the usuallyresolute Sea Eagles defence was found wanting at crucial moments, surrendering2,232 metres on the night – significantly higher than its season average of1,397.
Although despite losing a game it had wellwithin its grasp, Manly coach Geoff Toovey was satisfied with much of his side'sperformance on the night.
"I thought we were the better sidetonight – the boys for 75 minutes of the game deserved the win," saidToovey.
"I thought the boys who stepped intothose roles did a good job, we were obviously just not good enough tonight.
"It is a valuable lesson for us alland we will have to move forward."
Stand-in captain Brett Stewart scored a tryon the night but managed just 29 metres and for the first time in eight matchesdid not record a try assist.
The fullback admitted the visitors had noanswer for the wave of Storm momentum in the final 10 minutes.
"They had the momentum in the last 10minutes and we just could not find our front end like we had for majority ofthe game," said Stewart.
"If we don't play for 80 minutesagainst a team like that we can lose the game like we did."
Manly will have a long break to rue theirmissed chance until they host Newcastle at Brookvale Oval next round on Mondaynight football.