The Melbourne Storm's hopes of playing under-20s finals football appear over after being held to a 28-all draw by the bottom-placed Sea Eagles in the Holden Cup on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors looked headed for victory with a 10-point lead late in the game, but tries to Lucas Price and Harlon Collins – and a crucial conversion from halfback Nicho Hynes – ensured the match would finish all square.
Storm five-eighth Scott Drinkwater had a chance in the 80th minute to slot a match-winning field goal from 40 metres out but his attempt sailed agonisingly wide.
It didn't take long for the visitors to assert their dominance with No.9 Connor Donehue burrowing over from close range to open the scoring inside five minutes.
The Thunderbolts were in again from the very next set with Cory Parker diving over untouched in the corner to extend the lead before the winger doubled his tally moments later to make it 16-0 after just 12 minutes.
After being blitzed early on, Manly steadied the ship and even managed to peg one back through halfback Nicho Hynes after a scintillating run down the left sideline by Tevita Funa that saw the Sea Eagles centre beat four would-be defenders.
The hosts then narrowed the gap to four points when Luke Polselli raced through to ground a perfectly-weighted Hynes grubber only for Louis Geraghty to hit straight back to give the Storm a 22-12 lead at the break.
Having played a huge part in his side's first try, Funa was rewarded with a four-pointer of his own as he capped off some slick work down the left touchline by Tom Wright to open the second-half scoring.
Manly had the better of the play for the next 20 minutes as they looked to take the lead, but Sam Burns crashed over from dummy-half against the run of play to give the Storm a crucial 10-point lead with 10 minutes to play.
The Storm had to sweat it out for the final five minutes when Sea Eagles winger Lucas Price crashed over before they had their hearts broken by Collins's try and Hynes's clutch conversion.
Storm 28 (Cory Parker 2, Connor Donehue, Louis Geraghty, Sam Burns tries: Jesse Arthars 4 goals) drew with Sea Eagles 28 (Nicho Hynes, Luke Polselli, Tevita Funa, Lucas Price, Harlon Collins tries; Nicho Hynes 4 goals) at Brookvale Oval. Half-time: 22-12 Storm.