SYDNEY - Manly have moved to the outright lead at the top of the NRL ladder with a 24-16 win over Sydney Roosters at Brookvale Oval on Friday night.
In a gripping grand-final rematch, a Peta Hiku try in the 78th minute sealed the win for the home side, with Jamie Lyon's conversion putting the Sea Eagles out to an unassailable eight-point lead.
After trailing 10-0 early, the Roosters fought their way back into the contest and should have tied the scores at 18-all in the 68th minute after a Mitchell Pearce try, but James Maloney's went conversion wide.
A desperate Roosters attempted a short drop-out minutes from time, which Manly gathered before Hiku crossed for his second of the night.
Brett Stewart was instrumental in the win, Manly's 10th of the season, before a crowd 17,155, which puts them two points clear of Penrith who travel to Auckland today to meet the Warriors.
Manly burst out to an early 10-0 lead after 18 minutes following two great sweeping backline plays created tries for Hiku in the 14th minute and Jorge Taufua four minutes later
In a high-quality game, a Sonny Bill Williams short ball put Shaun Kenny-Dowall over in the 23rd minute.
A converted try to Boyd Cordner, in just his second his second touch after six weeks out with an ankle injury, from a Mitchell Pearce short ball put the Roosters ahead, in the 25th minute after James Maloney's conversion.
A Jamie Lyon penalty goal on the stroke on halftime brought a 12-all scoreline at the break.
A superb set play put Brett Stewart over in the 52nd minute to give Manly an 18-12, lead before a Frank Paul Nuuausala break 12 minutes from fulltime put Pearce in the clear.
The Roosters halfback outsprinted Stewart to score. But Maloney's conversion miss proved costly as they play catch-up football before Hiku's final try.
Manly interchange forward James Hasson left the field with concussion in the 34th minute and didn't return.