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Powerhouse Panthers second-rower Sika Manu declared playing alongside Matt Moylan was a "massive honour" after the young fullback starred in Penrith's nail-biting victory over the Sea Eagles.

"He's a freak," 28-year-old Manu said after the match.

"He's just naturally talented, it's a massive honour playing alongside him. He just shows talent every week, sets up tries, kicks field goals and he also runs and tackles hard.

"I hope he gets picked [for New South Wales], he's a tough player and I think he'll be very suitable for them, it will give him a lot of confidence as well."



Manu, who had a strong game on Monday night including a nice try assist to Dallin Watene Zalezniak, said the result was hugely important heading into the Origin period and a bye.

"I'm very happy with the way the boys played and it was a very important game, we're five from five now so hopefully we can get a few more wins on the back of this," he said.

"We knew Manly were going to come out firing. They came out really strong, really fast and hard and blew us away in the first 10 minutes. But credit to our boys we hang in there and fought back for the rest of the game and come out on top in the end."

That resilience to withstand an early Manly raid was pinpointed by coach Ivan Cleary as especially pleasing after the match.

With the Sea Eagles riding a wave of momentum after Brett Stewart's record setting brace of tries in the first half, the Panthers did very well to claw their way back.

Trailing 10-4 and playing with their eighth different halves pairing this season, it seemed as though the Panthers wouldn't have the points in them.

"Yeah that's the thing," Manu said. "We've been struggling with finding combinations over the last few weeks with a number of players out.

"We're just focusing on defence last couple of weeks, we've been defending well and the tries will come. The boys can attack from wherever but it's the defence we're worrying about.

"I think we've fixed that problem (defence) now and hopefully we can get the full team back you know and start scoring more points."

The Kiwi back-rower, who broke four tackles against Manly, also praised his forward pack for their tough efforts in the middle.  

"The whole forward pack played really strong and it just made it easier for me to run the ball when the pack's moving forward.

"Our front-rowers like Nigel Plum, Sam Mckendry, Jeremy Latimore and Reagan Campbell-Gillard just worked really hard tonight, they were just awesome."

The Panthers now have an opportunity to rest up and recover from their horror injury toll with a bye this weekend before kicking off Round 12 against the Parramatta Eels next Friday.

That match should see the return of key players Peter Wallace, Josh Mansour and Dean Whare.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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