Joey Leilua had a moment of madness as the injury-hit Manly Sea Eagles beat Canberra Raiders 18-14 to move into the top four after NRL leaders Melbourne Storm’s defeat of Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.
Canberra pulled off a stunning fightback to beat the Storm last weekend, but they were brought back down to earth at GIO Stadium eight days later.
Jarrod Croker scored a try and four points with the boot before a couple of Reuben Garrick penalties reduced the Raiders’ lead to 8-4 at the end of a first half in which Jack Wighton had a try contentiously ruled out.
A third successful shot at goal from Croker increased his side’s advantage, but Manly hit the front for the first time with an eight-point try 10 minutes into the second half.
Jack Gosiewski intercepted a stray pass deep in the Manly half and fed Garrick, who raced away to score and was struck in the back by the knee of a sliding Leilua as he grounded the ball.
Leilua was put on a report and Garrick picked himself up to slot over the conversion and penalty, then added the extras after Jake Trbojevic scored Manly’s second try.
Croker claimed a double nine minutes from time but missed the conversion and Manly held on to move level on points with the Raiders despite losing Joel Thompson (wrist) and Moses Suli (ankle).
— NRL (@NRL) August 25, 2019
Melbourne moved four points clear of Sydney Roosters at the summit with a 24-8 win over the Titans at AAMI Park.
The Storm closed in on the minor premiership, raising their game in the second half with tries from Ryan Papenhuyzen, Dale Finucane and Josh Addo-Carr after Kenny Bromwich went over prior to the interval.