Roosters v Sea Eagles: Five key points
The Sea Eagles overcame injuries to Daly Cherry-Evans and Jamie Buhrer to see off a Roosters team desperate to celebrate Shaun Kenny-Dowall's 200th NRL game with a win.
Barrett praises Manly's mental toughness
Coming up against a determined Roosters outfit was never going to be an easy task for a Manly side missing suspended duo Martin Taupau and Brenton Lawrence to, as well as injured pair Steve Matai and Tom Symonds.
But despite losing the penalty count, conceding more metres, having less possession, and losing two more players to injury, the Sea Eagles still managed to win.
"It was certainly the bravest effort I've seen from the while I've been with the club," Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett said after the game.
"They just kept hanging in and hanging in. We went in short of troops and lost two more during the game. I guess being on the backend of a 9-3 penalty count didn't help.
"It was a great win on a five-day turnaround. We can build a lot on that. It was a great effort. It's character building. We're going to get so much of that."
While Barrett wasn't entirely happy with the way his team played, he said Manly's heart and desire more than made up for it their lack of execution.
"We can still get a whole lot better in our footy smarts and our game management and all that sort of stuff," he said.
"We can work on that, but you can't buy the attitude and commitment they showed each other."
Robinson sees red over Bunker decision
A controversial no-try ruling with six minutes to go has left Roosters coach Trent Robinson fuming in the wake of his side's two-point loss to Manly.
"It was a try. It was pretty obvious it was a bad call from the ref and it was a bad call from the Bunker. He was onside. We could all see it from the angle. If they're there to make a call, then make the call," Robinson said.
"I think we could all see that he was behind. You can't draw a line on the screen. We know they got it wrong."
The decision to deny Latrell Mitchell a try that would have given the Roosters the lead with five minutes to play riled their coach, but Robinson conceded his team had ample opportunity to win the game at various stages.
"There was some good energy and some good hustle on a lot of stuff. I thought overall we held them fairly well, but a couple of little things let them back in that second half," he said.
"It was pretty disappointing for us. We had other opportunities as well. We had an opportunity after that to go after the game and we missed that as well."
Manly left to count the cost of tight win
Manly might have left Allianz Stadium with the two competition points, but they also have plenty of headaches.
The Sea Eagles lost Steve Matai and Tom Symonds before kick-off, and the pair were joined by Jamie Buhrer and Daly Cherry-Evans who picked up injuries during the game.
Buhrer suffered a broken thumb in his first game back from a broken jaw, while Cherry-Evans left the field late in the match with an ankle sprain.
Barrett said it was too early to make a call on his halfback's fitness, but admitted Cherry-Evans could face a stint on the sidelines.
"He's gone straight for scans now, so that's not looking good," the Sea Eagles coach said.
"Buhrer's got a broken thumb. Matai couldn't play, Symonds couldn't play, and we had two suspended.
"[They could play next week] at a pinch, but we've only got four days."
Barrett later revealed Matai had been ruled out with a neck complaint, while Tom Symonds had a calf strain.
SKD falls short in game 200
Arguably the highlight for the Roosters on Saturday night was the performance of Shaun Kenny-Dowall.
In what was his 200th NRL game, the Roosters winger grabbed two tries, ran for 192 metres and looked threatening every time he touched the ball.
His coach lamented his side's ability to get the job done for Kenny-Dowall, especially considering how well he has started the season.
"He was doing everything to win, and he's been doing everything to win every single week for us," Robinson said.
"We've been playing off the back of Shaun a lot and he was desperate to get a win. He kept going and kept going and kept going and he created a lot of those opportunities for us but we couldn't do it. We acknowledged that after the game that it was disappointing not to get that win for Shaun."
His teammates were equally shattered to fall short on such a special night, with Roosters halfback Jackson Hastings describing the loss as "heartbreaking".
"He puts his soul into this club every single day and he's done that for 200 games now," Hastings said.
"He's not just a champion player, but he's a champion off the field. It's very disappointing that we couldn't win as a team, but not to win for 'Skidz' on such a big occasion is very disappointing."
How will Manly back-up against the Rabbitohs?
The Sea Eagles are bracing for their second straight five-day turnaround, and are likely to be without star No.7 Daly Cherry-Evans when they face South Sydney on Thursday night.
Barrett said he had some options up his sleeve to play in the halves, and won't use Cherry-Evans' potential absence as a reason for any possible poor performance.
"Isaac John played NSW Cup today, Moltz [Tim Moltzen] is back, Feleti [Mateo] played there tonight. We've got a few options there," Barrett said.
"It won't be an excuse for us. We'll aim up and try to win that game on Thursday night."
The quick turnaround between games means Barrett's senior players haven't been able to train with the team.
The rookie NRL coach hopes his players can fall back on their experience and all the training they did in the pre-season to help them get through this gruelling part of the draw.
"The whole squad won't do anything until captain's run. I think we have four or five five day turnarounds in the first six rounds. During that time you can only train once a week," he said.
"We've just got to rely on what we've done in the pre-season and get them on the field."