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FORTIFIED Brookvale became Mortified Brookvale when the Men from the Mountains produced a mighty defensive effort to outplay a Manly side that has lost three straight and looks to be struggling for answers.

Penrith’s defence was highly committed and they stood up against one of the competition heavyweights in their own backyard. They were the better team on the night and can definitely take heart from one of their better performances in recent years.

Manly’s defence, too, under torrid pressure, stood up time and again. But with the loss of Jamie Lyon and their attack otherwise disjointed – and the lack of a strike weapon like Brett Stewart to finish off some promising attacking raids – they were outplayed by the better team.

The Game Swung When…  In the 43rd minute Jamie Lyon went off with a knee injury and Matt Orford kicked one out on the full. Coming on top of sustained pressure from the Panthers and in driving rain, Manly could ill-afford to lose a player capable of turning this tough game their way.

That said, in the 73rd minute they did string together a fine backline move that resulted in Chris Bailey plunging over out wide for his second try. But Mat Orford could not convert and the Panthers held onto a two-point lead, despite great pressure from the Sea Eagles.

Earlier, as the bell rung for half-time it began to bucket down like Huey was sweeping out his flooded kitchen. And the game became one of attrition; one that Penrith proved the more adept at gutsing out.

In the 57th minute, a moment of magic from the Panthers: Frank Pritchard bent a hole in the Manly line and despite being tackled by two Manly players was still able to get a great ball away for the flying Lachlan Coote who slid over for a fine four-pointer. And the Panthers were never headed.

Who Was Hot… Lachlan Coote stood up well under the high ball, stepped around the field like a pinball with a bloody nose and took a couple of big shots from the likes of Steve Matai. Assured game from an 18-year-old with a bit about him.

Another young’n in Masada Iosefa was industrious and scored the match-winner. Luke Lewis drove a lot of the go-forward for the Panthers, Frank Pritchard put on some nice touches in attack (four offloads and a try assist) and Trent Waterhouse was strong (35 tackles).

For the Sea Eagles, Anthony Watmough was typically industrious around the fringes. Steve Matai was occasionally scary in the centres; particularly with the Sideshow Bob ’do flapping like two kelpies were fighting in a hedge.

Front-rower Brent Kite (16 runs, 122 metres, 44 tackles) was the Sea Eagles’ best, Shane Neumann broke the line three times, while Chris Bailey went over for two tries.

Who Was Not…  Hard to single anybody out. Both sides were guilty of giving away penalties and not taking their opportunities in attack. The rain didn’t help and maybe it’s Round 3… but both attacks looked disjointed. A lot of passes went to nobody (well, nobody on the same team) or around the knees or behind the runner. Schoolboy mistakes that had both coaches tearing their hair from the roots.

Had To Be Seen To Be Believed… In the 28th minute, Lachlan Coote was smashed by a Steve Matai Special, yet bounced away to be tackled by someone else, nose bloodied, legs still pumping. Seconds later Coote was leaping for a bomb and almost coming up with the chocolates. Good player, this lad.

Early in the second-half, following a jinking cross-field snipe, Masada Iosefa threw a pass that went so far forward that Luke Lewis caught it in 2015.

Adam Cuthbertson put a monumental hit on big Tim Grant that ruffled the dust on the rafters of Brookvale’s Ken Arthurson Stand. A mighty, thunderous collision.

Speaking of which: Matty Orford took the ball up strongly, was hammered by Frank Pritchard, bounced off and was then hammered by Petero Civoniceva, and kept on playing, like Mighty Mouse bumping off a train.

Bad Boys… none.

Refs Watch… Video ref Chris Ward got Manly’s first try right; Chris Bailey forced downward pressure and didn’t double-move.

In the 43rd minute Luke Lewis went over but Ward probably correctly ruled that there was obstruction. Later touch judge Alan Shortall ruled correctly that Manly wing Shane Neumann had leapt to catch the ball with his feet on the line. Some conjecture about a couple of passes perhaps going forward – or not – in the latter stages, but they were subjective calls that 50 per cent of objective watchers could have ruled either way. Fair play to the officials. Best & Fairest… 3 points – Petero Civoniceva (Penrith): Carted the pill up like a Trojan and made his tackles count; 2 points – Masada Iosefa (Penrith): Looked clever out of dummy-half and scored a sniping four-pointer; 1 point – Lachlan Coote (Penrith): Ran with alacrity, caught bombs in the wet, scored a fine try.

Penrith 12 (L Coote, M Iosefa tries; M Gordon 2 goals) def Manly 10 (C Bailey 2 tries; M Orford 1 goal) at Brookvale Oval. Crowd: 8667.

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