Defence king as Sea Eagles overcome Raiders

ADRIAN WARREN
Last updated 00:15 26/05/2013

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Manly have shown tremendous character and an enormous engine to beat Canberra 16-10 in their NRL clash at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night.

Coming off a gruelling golden-point draw against Melbourne last Monday, Manly were under pressure for most of the first 55 minutes.

For all their dominance Canberra never led by more than four points despite two tries to exciting winger Edrick Lee.

Tries to winger David Williams and forward Justin Horo in the last 12 minutes were enough for Manly to avoid three straight home losses for the first time in nine years.

Canberra back Jack Wighton missed a glorious chance in the final two minutes, knocking on a kick from Anthony Milford in the Manly in-goal area.

The match ended with Dane Tilse placed on report for throwing the first punch in a brawl that also involved Manly's Test and Origin forward Anthony Watmough.

Canberra have now won just one out of seven away games this season.

The Raiders' Queensland Origin aspirant David Shillington faces a nervous wait after he was placed on report, for a second-minute high tackle on Steve Matai.

Canberra's other Origin hopeful, centre Blake Ferguson, produced some good moments.

Lee scored the game's first try in the 11th minute following good leadup work from Campese and winger Jarrod Croker.

The score goaded Manly into action with Glenn Stewart denied a try on video review after he was stopped just short of the line.

The Sea Eagles were back on level terms a couple of minutes later.

Hard-working Manly hooker Matt Ballin made a break and passed to halfback Daly Cherry-Evans, who offloaded to skipper Jamie Lyon, who then powered his way over.

Lee soared high and ahead of rival winger David Williams to claim a high kick from halfback Josh McCrone and score his sixth try in eight games this season.

Williams got his revenge in the 39th minute, crossing after good work from Glenn Stewart, fullback Peta Hiku and Lyon, who hit the woodwork for the second time in as many conversion attempts.

Horo sealed the win when he took a perfect stab kick from five-eighth Kieran Foran.

"We were a bit flat today, a bit tight, a bit jaded maybe and there players are looking forward to this rest," Manly coach Geoff Toovey said referring to their bye next week.

"We didn't do too much this week. We just rested up and had a bit of a run yesterday and played today," said Ballin, who topped the match tackle count with 44.

"I think we believed the whole time we could win and it showed by our defence.

"I still think we were pretty poor with the ball ... but we're getting better.

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For Manly, Lawrence suffered sore ribs and Jamie Buhrer may have strained a knee.

Canberra coach David Furner lamented his team's inability to get repeat sets in the second half and felt they didn't get the 50-50 refereeing calls go their way.

"We didn't switch off, I just thought that the possession we were given that we needed to turn that into more sets," Furner said.

"What we did in the first half was quite clinical. We get those repeat sets and kept Manly on their line.

"We needed to do that in the second half.

Asked about Ferguson's performance, Furner described it as "quiet".

He said Croker suffered a hamstring injury, but wasn't sure of the extent.

Manly Sea Eagles 16 (D Williams 2 J Horo J Lyon tries) Canberra Raiders 10 (E Lee 2 tries J Croker goal) at Brookvale Oval. Referee: Gavin Badger, Alan Shortall. Crowd: 10,871

- AAP

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