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Manly sees off Roosters in NRL thriller

Sunday, March 30, 2014

SYDNEY - Manly have come out on top in yet another absorbing, low-scoring encounter with the Sydney Roosters to gain a modicum of revenge for last year's grand final defeat.

A first-half try from former Roosters junior Cheyse Blair and a Jamie Lyon penalty separated the sides for most of the game, before Lyon added a second two-pointer on the siren to hand the Sea Eagles an 8-0 win.

It was the first time since round two in 2012 the Roosters have been held scoreless as their attack failed to spark, and it was thanks only to some outstanding defence that they found themselves only 6-0 down at half-time.

Three of the four meetings between the two sides in 2013 produced single-digit margins of victory, and once again it was another tight affair on a heavy pitch at Allianz Stadium.

The Sea Eagles were boosted by the return of Kieran Foran from a calf injury, and he and halves partner Daly Cherry-Evans were superb, outshining opposite numbers Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney to move their side to 3-1 for the season.

However, they were without Glenn Stewart for most of the game after the NSW back-rower was forced off with concussion following a hit to his head from Jared Waerea-Hargreaves' shoulder midway through the first stanza.

Once again the Roosters, the most penalised side in the NRL in 2013, were heavily outweighed in the penalty count 11-2, but they were unable to create enough pressure in attack to try to force the visitors on the back foot for any sustained period.

It was a similar story in the second half, with Michael Jennings botching a try when he coughed up the ball on the line before a Daniel Tupou effort was ruled out for obstruction by Pearce.

Foran and Anthony Watmough went close for Manly, but Lyon's kick in front of the posts gave the scoreline some extra gloss.

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