Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett has lamented the 14-4 penalty count against them in their 16-8 loss to the Penrith Panthers on Saturday night.
Barrett praised the Sea Eagles' defence to hold Penrith to just two tries throughout the contest – particularly in the opening half where Penrith had 58 per cent of the ball and a 9-2 penalty count in their favour.
Manly have been the third-most penalised side in the Telstra Premiership this season – just behind last year's grand finalists Melbourne and Cronulla.
"I'm more than happy with the effort, it was an outstanding defensive effort when everything went against us," Barrett said post-game.
"We played in circumstances where we couldn't win with some of the things that went against us. How are you going to win a game with a 14-4 penalty count? I've never seen anything like it, ever."
Sea Eagles skipper Daly Cherry-Evans had several chats with the match officials throughout the contest but the penalties continued to flow as the Panthers grinded out a much-needed win.
Both Cherry-Evans and Barrett agreed the side would take positives from the result despite hinting they were never in with a chance.
"Losses like that are extremely hard to take so from that you definitely have to take something out of it," Cherry-Evans 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."
With all the talk in the lead up to the contest surrounding Cherry-Evans being snubbed by Queensland selectors for the State of Origin decider, the 28-year-old was again among the Sea Eagles' best in a beaten outfit.
He continues to lead the NRL try assist count with 16 after sending centre Dylan Walker over for a four-pointer in the first half.
"It's business as usual to be fair, I've moved on pretty quickly," Cherry-Evans said of Origin.
"I've set some high standards for myself because I felt like the coaching I'm receiving this year is amazing and a reflection of the staff we have and also the team I'm in.
"I have a side that never gives in and puts me in positions to play some good footy.
"I'm certainly not naïve to know it's off the back of a good club."
The Sea Eagles will remain in fourth position on the Telstra Premiership ladder and face the Wests Tigers at Lottoland in Round 19.