The courage shown by his team when they were down a man for 10 minutes gave Manly coach Des Hasler as much satisfaction as the other 70 in Saturday night's 22-20 win over the Cowboys.
The Sea Eagles were trailing 20-16 when Jack Gosiewski was sin binned for a professional foul in the 50th minute but did not concede a point in his absence.
They then took the lead just after Gosiewski returned to the field and went on to record a crucial away win to move to 7-6 for the season.
“We certainly had to dig in there in the second half playing with 12 men," Hasler said.
"It was probably a really good solid period which a lot of it was defending the tryline, so they showed plenty of grit there.
“It’s not always an easy ground to come to and the Cowboys have been in good form. To walk away with two points tonight was really important for us. We had a couple of players come back tonight, too.”
The steadying influence of skipper Daly Cherry-Evans was crucial down the stretch while fullback Tom Trbojevic had a mixed night in his fist game since round four.
“It's been 10 weeks since Tom played so I thought he was solid tonight," Hasler said.
"He won’t be too happy with a couple of parts of the game, but Tom’s like that. He will be a lot better for the run and we'll build on that.”
Manly’s middle forwards laid the platform and played like they had a point to prove against the likes of Jason Taumalolo and Jordan McLean.
Martin Taupau made 190 metres from 19 carries and Addin Fonua-Blake churned out 152 metres as they set the tone for the victory.
"Certainly on the back of the performance and the carries and momentum that both Addin [Fonua-Blake] and Marty Taupau gave us, we were able to capitalise on it,” Hasler said.
“But our biggest issue is around possession and again an 8-2 penalty count in the first half is just too much.
"I thought one of the penalties for lifting was OK. The rest was subjective in my view, so I thought we could have got a few more penalties for ourselves in the first half and that weight of possession just kept the Cowboys in it.
“I think that's when they got their three quick tries just before half-time.
"But we knew that if we just remained calm and stayed in the competition, we had enough there to get us home.”