Manly Warringah Sea Eagles have recorded a gutsy 18-10 victory over the third placed Penrith Panthers at Panthers Stadium today in round 16 of the Telstra Premiership.
The win keeps Manly's slim finals hopes alive with the Sea Eagles moving to 10 competition points ahead of next week's bye and ends a four game losing streak for Coach Trent Barrett and his team.
The victory also keeps Manly four points clear of bottom placed Parramatta with eight matches remaining.
The only sour note in the win for Manly was a left knee injury to five-eighth Dylan Walker in his first match back in six weeks from a facial fracture suffered in the win over Melbourne.
The win over Penrith was also sweet for exciting young hooker Manase Fainu who became the 608th player to represent Manly in first grade after turning in a solid NRL debut.
Forward Kelepi Tanginoa also returned for his first match from a knee injury suffered against Canberra in round four.
The Panthers opened proceedings with a penalty goal to five-eighth James Maloney but it was the Sea Eagles who crossed the line first through second-rower Joel Thompson, who showed great footwork and strength to score next to the posts.
Half-back and captain Daly Cherry-Evans converted the try for a 6-2 lead after 12 minutes.
The Panthers took an 8-6 lead in the 35th minute after full-back Dallin Watene-Zelezniak crashed through a two man tackle to score next to the posts. Maloney converted the try.
Manly winger Brad Parker was denied a try in the 39th minute on an obstruction call to leave Penrith with an 8-6 lead at half-time.
The Sea Eagles were not to be denied two minutes after half-time when winger Matthew Wright dived over from a lovely cut out pass from Tom Trbojevic. Trent Hodkinson failed to convert the try from the sideline for a 10-8 lead to Manly as Wright left the field with an injured shoulder from scoring.
Manly five-eighth Dylan Walker left the field in the 48th minute with a left knee injury.
Penrith drew level at 10-all in the 58th minute through a penalty goal to Maloney before the Panthers lost half-back Nathan Cleary to the sin-bin for taking out Cherry-Evans after the Manly half-back put a kick through.
Trent Hodkinson calmly converted the penalty attempt from 20 metres out to give Manly a 12-10 lead in the 66th minute before Hodkinson latched on to a great offload in traffic from Jake Trbojevic to score out wide for a 16-10 lead.
Hodkinson converted his own try to give Manly an 18-10 lead after 71 minutes.
The Sea Eagles dug deep in the final minutes to keep the Panthers at bay to record their first win at Penrith since 2011.