What started out as an encouraging afternoon on Sydney's northern beaches quickly turned into a day to forget for the Roosters who squandered an 18-4 first-half lead to go down 36-18 to the Sea Eagles and fall four competition points behind the table-topping Storm in the race for the minor premiership.
A prolonged left-edge assault saw Daniel Tupou, Latrell Mitchell and Luke Keary all cross in the space of 12 minutes to open up a commanding lead late in the first half, only for Manly to strike back on the stroke of half-time and ride that momentum for the next 40 minutes to claim a huge win for their top four hopes.
While they managed to match Manly in terms of line breaks, the Roosters were forced to make 87 more tackles than their opponents while they also conceded nearly 500 more running metres on the back of seven penalties and three line dropouts.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson was pleased with the opening half hour but conceded their second-half performance was 'weak' and bemoaned his side's inability to convert several attacking raids after the break.
"I think we were in pretty good shape up until 18-4 and that try right on half-time was a bit of a snapshot of the second half. We started the second half and we were really weak," he said.
"They rolled us and I think they went easily 60 or 70 metres off a lot of their second-half sets which eventually got their lead to 20-18 after a period of 15-20 minutes.
"We just didn't have enough steel in us in the second half for the periods where they were going to come with. They're very good at asking questions at the backend of their sets.
"It was pretty disappointing to see the way that we allowed them to roll and then it just continued for most of the half. I think we created enough opportunities, but their support was better on their line breaks and ours were a bit low."
To make matters worse, the Roosters will most likely be without Daniel Tupou (groin) and Sio Siua Taukeiaho (finger) for next week's showdown with the Storm in Melbourne.
"It’s a bit of a groin. To come off, it's not great. He's walking around and all that so that's not the end of the world and he walked off so that's a good thing, but coming off, that's not a good sign," Robinson said of Tupou's 65th-minute injury.
"He (Taukeiaho) had a compound fracture in his finger. It broke the skin but hopefully it's not broken. It came out of the skin so therefore he couldn't go back."