Gutsy Manly scrape past Roosters
The Sea Eagles have held off a spirited Roosters side to snatch a 22-20 win at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
The win was Manly's second on the trot, but it could come at a cost with Jamie Buhrer leaving the field in the first-half with a suspected broken thumb while star halfback Daly Cherry-Evans came off with an ankle sprain late in the game.
Saturday night's loss was the fourth in a row to start the year for the Roosters, but coach Trent Robinson would have to be pleased with the improved effort.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall had a night to remember, capping off his 200th game in the NRL with two tries, 192 metres and two line breaks.
The early signs weren't great for the Roosters as they fell behind inside the first five minutes.
A Latrell Mitchell error gifted the Sea Eagles tremendous field position, and courtesy of a Feleti Mateo speculative floater and some terrific hands from Jorge Taufua, Manly crossed out wide for an early 6-0 lead.
After conceding 103 points in their opening three games, the famed 'Bondi Wall' was seemingly back and ensured that would be the last time their line was breached in the opening half, with Manly's only other points coming via a penalty goal in the 25th minute.
After falling behind, the Roosters swiftly lifted their intensity and were rewarded in the 11th minute with the milestone man Shaun Kenny-Dowall finishing off some classy work from Blake Ferguson to score his 113th try for the Tricolours.
The hosts then levelled the game four minutes later via the boot of Sio Siua Taukeiaho, before Lyon's penalty goal allowed Manly to retake the lead.
Having crossed earlier in the game, Kenny-Dowall turned a solid milestone game into one he'll never forget. After watching Bulldogs centre Josh Morris celebrate his 200th game with a first-half double on Friday, the Roosters winger followed suit, leaping high to snatch a Jackson Hastings kick to cross in the corner.
It was just rewards for the Roosters, who had only moments earlier had a chaotic try to Sio Siua Taukeiaho disallowed after he lost possession in the process of scoring.
The second half couldn't have started any differently for both sides, with Taufua spilling a Hastings kick on almost the same blade of grass as Mitchell's error to start the game.
A few plays later Hastings linked up with Ferguson, who dummied to Kenny-Dowall, fended away from Brown and scored to increase the hosts' lead.
It looked like the home side would run away with it after a brutal set of six saw them march 70 metres down field, but a poor kick from skipper Jake Friend killed any hopes of more points.
The Roosters would rue that missed opportunity, as Manly piled on 14 points in six minutes to take back the lead.
The first came with Daly Cherry-Evans finding Dylan Walker out the back before the Manly No.6 put on the afterburners to race 20 metres and score his second try of the season.
A penalty goal to Lyon levelled the scores with 23 minutes to play, before the Manly skipper combined with Tom Trbojevic to score a breathtaking try down the right touchline to reclaim the lead.
Suddenly down by six, the Roosters needed a spark and got one through their 200-game-man. Having put his side in good field position with a strong run, Kenny-Dowall watched on as his teammates threw the ball around hot-potato style, before Daniel Tupou toed through a stray Latrell Mitchell offload to score.
Hastings had a chance to level the scores, but couldn't slot what was a very difficult sideline conversion.
With six minutes remaining it looked as if the Roosters had stolen their first win of the season with an apparent try to Mitchell, but the Bunker intervened, ruling Mitchell Aubusson offside in the build-up.
The Roosters had a couple of late chances, but couldn't produce the special play required to get the win.
Sea Eagles 22 (Jorge Taufua, Dylan Walker, Jamie Lyon tries; Jamie Lyon 5 goals) defeated Roosters 20 (Shaun Kenny-Dowall 2, Blake Ferguson, Daniel Tupou tries; Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Jackson Hastings 1 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Half-time: 10-8 Roosters. Penalties: 9-4 Roosters. Crowd: 12,271. Injuries: Jamie Buhrer (broken hand) and Daly Cherry-Evans (foot).