Brenton Lawrence led the Manly forwards against the Cowboys in Round 3.

Manly's rocks and diamonds win

Manly's upset victory over North Queensland at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday night has some telling statistics to go along with it. 

While the Sea Eagles were undoubtedly the better side, it was largely due to their exceptional defence, as opposed to their sub-par forwards performance, which they will be looking to improve upon in the coming weeks. 

While the likes of Tom Trbojevic, Jorge Taufua, Dylan Walker and Akuila Uate all had more than 100 running metres, the only Manly forward to pass the 100 metre mark was Brenton Lawrence, with 121 metres.

Even In a losing side, the Cowboys' forwards were far superior offensively, with Scott Bolton, Ethan Lowe and Coen Hess running for 176, 158 and 144 metres respectively. 

Coach Trent Barrett spoke to the media post-match, and was confident that Manly would need to improve their attacking performance to compete week to week. 

"We're still making a few too many errors, but we can fix that," Barrett said. 

Despite their forwards struggling to make the metres, Manly's defence, especially on their own line, made up for it throughout the night.  

They notched up four try-saving tackles, as well as repelling the Cowboys through several repeat sets, despite missing 35 tackles throughout the night. 

"The defence from Round 1 was back again tonight. That's what won us the game, our goal-line defence," Barrett said. 

Despite their drought-breaking win, Manly's attention has already turned to repeating the effort against the Bulldogs at Lottoland next week. 

Captain Daly Cherry-Evans is confident they can do it having shaken off their winless tag. 

"That's something we definitely can hang our hat on, but that would mean we'd have to go out there and back it up next week, which is the plan," Cherry-Evans said.

"We've just go to keep building on our performance tonight and our discipline and errors are two things we can fix up in our control."