Champion halfback Daly Cherry-Evans added to his bag of tricks on the Gold Coast, kicking a left-footed field goal to guide his side to a gripping 15-12 victory over the Titans on Sunday.
In a match that produced few opportunities, Manly’s stars stepped up when the big moments arrived. Fullback Brett Stewart, Cherry-Evans and halves partner Kieran Foran featured heavily in the three-point triumph, as the Sea Eagles moved back into top-spot on the competition ladder.
With many questioning their premiership credentials following last week’s heartache to South Sydney, the Sea Eagles returned to the winner’s circle to ensure their title aspirations would remain on track.
After a slow first half hour, Cherry-Evans produced a piece of magic to open the scoring in the 33rd minute, combining with Foran as he broke through the Titans defensive line to send his halves partner under the posts.
The Sea Eagles were set to take a 6-0 lead into the break, but an impressive individual display from Titans centre James Roberts sent the two sides into the break all locked up.
The second half began much like the first, with little opportunity. Both sides struggled to hold possession as a number of loose carries left both sides scratching their heads.
But as they do so often, Manly found a way to break the deadlock as Foran muscled his way over Daniel Mortimer to send Brett Stewart over for a six-point advantage.
With five minutes remaining, Manly’s ace No.7 slotted an unorthodox field with his left foot to extend his side’s margin to seven points.
However, the Titans refused to give up, scoring after winning the ball back from a short kick off to get within a point of their opponents.
Gold Coast came home with a wet sail and managed to march their way up field in a bid to snatch an unlikely victory in the dying minutes, but Stewart eliminated any hope as he pounced on a grubber kick to get within 10-metres of the Titans’ try line.
Cherry-Evans was then awarded a penalty for being tackled without the ball as captain Jamie Lyon secured victory with a penalty goal after the siren.