Panthers v Sea Eagles: Five key points
Penrith keep their season alive and fought hard for a gritty 16-8 victory as Manly coach Trent Barrett unloads on Sea Eagles ill discipline.
Panthers end top eight hoodoo
Penrith's win over Manly was the first time in 2017 they've been able to beat a side sitting in the top eight.
It was also their seventh win against the Sea Eagles in their last eight starts – further stamping their dominance over Trent Barrett's side since 2012.
Panthers skipper Matt Moylan admitted the side never spoke about the statistic this season.
"We haven't thought about that as a club, we just want to go out and perform each week and the result will take care of itself," he said.
Ill discipline costing Manly
For all the consistency the Sea Eagles have shown in 2017, their biggest downfall has been the penalty count and it cost them on Saturday night.
The 14-4 count against them proved costly with the Panthers kicking two penalty goals to put their lead beyond a converted try at the backend of the contest.
Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett was baffled by the high count against his side post-game.
"Everything went against us," Barrett said.
"How are you going to win a game with a 14-4 penalty count? I've never seen anything like it, ever."
Panthers forwards stand tall
Both forward packs wound back the clock with some big collisions and the battle up the middle was the highlight of the evening.
Former Australian international James Tamou shot out of the blocks early for arguably his best start in the Panthers jersey, while fellow teammates Trent Merrin and Leilani Latu both contributed with over 130 metres apiece.
Tamou's front-row partner Reagan Campbell-Gillard also showed strong support with 124 metres however came up with a season-high nine missed tackles.
"I thought they were very good and had to be," Panthers coach Anthony Griffin said.
"Manly are a quality side entrenched in the top eight and have been undefeated for five weeks so our middle had to be strong and they were."
Sea Eagles defence admirable
For all the attacking possession the Panthers threw at Manly on their own line, it was repelled well enough to solidify the point that Barrett's men are the real deal in 2017.
Penrith had an extra six sets inside the Sea Eagles' 20 metre zone but were constantly turned away by the visitors with Nathan Cleary's two penalty goals the only points scored by the home side in the second half.
Sea Eagles captain Daly Cherry-Evans was confident the side could overcome the result.
"Losses like that are extremely hard to take so from that you definitely have to take something out of it," he said.
"This competition moves on too quickly for you to not take positives out of a loss.
"Our effort and goal line defence effort was certainly something we will take as a positive this week."
Season still alive for Panthers
Penrith needed to turn the screws quickly to have any chance of making the finals after back-to-back losses away from home.
With the Eels ahead by four competition points on the Telstra Premiership ladder and a bye in Round 19 up their sleeve, it was a case of now or never for the Panthers, who now head to New Zealand in Round 19 to take on the Warriors.
With both the Panthers (9th) and Warriors (10th) log-jammed on 18 points, next week's clash shapes as an important one for both outfits in their quest to play finals football.