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Luke Keary has produced a playmaking masterclass to lead the undermanned Roosters to a 26-18 win over a brave Manly outfit at Lottoland on Saturday night.

The defending premiers were without No.7 Cooper Cronk and co-captain Jake Friend but were flawless in the opening half with Keary's four try assists setting up a 22-0 lead in a one-sided affair.

Manly had no answers with a 37 percent possession rate in the first 40 minutes, while they were out-muscled in the middle against a slick Roosters outfit, who at one stage were reduced to just one man on the bench.

Back-to-back tries in the 58th and 59th minute sparked a Sea Eagles revival with the margin reduced to 14 as the crowd of 9664 found their voice with a quarter of the game remaining.

Manese Fainu, playing in his first game of the season for the Sea Eagles, darted from dummy half to score from close range, before Daly Cherry-Evans put Reuben Garrick into space down the right edge for the rookie winger to find Jake Trbojevic in support.

The Roosters lost their way with uncharacteristic errors via Joseph Manu and Daniel Tupou giving the home side a sniff late in the game as Moses Suli, who left the field with a leg injury but later returned, finished off another attacking raid down the right edge to reduce the margin to eight.

While the second half won't please Trent Robinson, Keary's first-half efforts were enough to set up the victory.

Brett Morris finished off a Keary cross-field kick misjudged by Manly's left edge Brad Parker and Jorge Taufua in the second minute, before Latrell Mitchell made a 40/20 attempt look easy to earn a repeat set that led to the Tricolours' second shortly after.

Robinson: I've been training Latrell at five-eighth

Tupou was on the end of a Keary cut-out pass in the ninth minute as the heavens opened with a torrential thunderstorm stealing the attention for the next 15 minutes.

The Roosters were in no mood to tuck the ball under their arms and play wet weather footy with Keary again the orchestrator with a courageous run to the line before providing a late offload for Boyd Cordner to stroll over the line.

As the weather worsened, Manly's start to the game got worse with Brendan Elliot leaving the paddock for a head injury assessment.

The forced reshuffle in Des Hasler's backline came at another cost with the Roosters marching upfield for Keary to then put the ball on a dime for Tupou to outleap Suli out wide in scintillating fashion for a first-half double.

Keary was next to leave the paddock in the 48th minute for a HIA after some friendly fire from Jared Waerea-Hargreaves but later returned to finish the game.

Roosters playmaker Luke Keary.
Roosters playmaker Luke Keary. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

The Sea Eagles went close to getting on the board with Jack Gosiewski reaching out for the line but a last-ditch effort from debutant Lachlan Lam and James Tedesco jolted the ball loose.

The injury carnage continued in the second half with Suli carried from the field with a leg complaint in the same play Cordner received treatment following a careless high shot.

Cordner crossed the line a minute later with Lam slotting a pin-point grubber for the Roosters skipper to bag a double.

In the only concerns for the Tricolours, Lindsay Collins failed a HIA in the first half, while Morris had to be helped from the field with a leg injury and did not return.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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