DCE downed but Sea Eagles soar past Raiders
They did it without Daly.
Manly overcame a 12-0 deficit to defeat Canberra 24-20 at a noisy Brookvale Oval amid fears skipper Daly Cherry-Evans could sensationally miss the entire State of Origin series.
Depending on the severity of a high right ankle injury, Cherry-Evans could be out for one week - or 10. A long-term injury would be shattering for Manly and Queensland.
He will have scans on Monday for possible syndesmosis. The worst outcome would be 10 weeks.
In the 48th minute, Cherry-Evans collapsed to the ground after a heavy collision with Canberra forward Elliott Whitehead.
Cherry-Evans stayed down for two minutes and winced in pain when treated by Manly strength and conditioning head coach Don Singe for what appeared to be a high ankle sprain.
The Maroons hopeful did walk from the field but went straight up the tunnel for treatment. Cherry-Evans is being discussed as a possible Queensland captain.
He watched the match from the Manly player enclosure at Brookvale with ice strapped to his ankle. Curtis Sironen shifted into five-eighth.
SUPER SEA EAGLES
Manly hung in there through some difficult times and snatched the momentum midway through the second half. It was a typical performance from a Des Hasler team.
Canberra looked the winners for a large portion of the game but a gritty Manly somehow stayed in the game. Tries to Lachlan Croker (53rd minute) and Reuben Garrick (56th) snatched the game away from Canberra.
They may not be the best side in the NRL but Manly players are certainly playing for Hasler.
Offloads killed the Raiders. Manly hookers Api Koroisau and Manase Fainu tore Canberra apart out of dummy half.
Manly showed considerable resilience to hit back given how desperately unlucky they were to lose last week to St George Illawarra. The Sea Eagles have now won four from seven this year.
Canberra imploded at Lottoland. The Raiders looked strong all first half but the wheels tumbled off in the second 40 minutes. They are still rolling down nearby Pittwater Road.
The Raiders fell off tackles, threw panicked passes, even kicked out on the full from a goal line drop out.
Coach Ricky Stuart sat on the sideline shaking his head as he watched his side throw away a match they could so easily have won. Canberra players became visibly upset at their performance.
He scored twice - much to the chagrin of his uncle.
Lachlan Croker was a late inclusion in the Manly side - with coach Des Hasler omitting Kane Elgey - and scored a 25-metre try untouched just before half-time.
He then crossed again in the 53rd minute to give Manly a lead.
Croker is a Raiders junior and the nephew of former Canberra champion Jason Croker.
They are both very distant relatives of Canberra centre Jarrod Croker.
The best sledge came in the 30th minute when Canberra opted for a penalty goal to extend their lead to eight points rather than push for a try.
The Brookvale faithful let it be known they felt Canberra was being negative.
One wag roared: "You've already put your cue in the rack you bunch of public servants."
Can we add Jack Wighton to the NSW State of Origin debate?
Wighton scored two tries in the opening 13 minutes - he is some talent.
He cut Manly open in the 10th minute and then crossed again three minutes - after playing a role in the lead-up - to score his second.
Wighton, who shifted from fullback to five-eighth this season, has the natural ability and toughness to revel in the Origin cauldron.
So let's add Wighton to the five-eighth possibilities alongside James Maloney, Luke Keary and Cody Walker.
"He was tremendous," former rep star Darryl Brohman told 2GB.
Agreed, nothing beats Bankwest Stadium as state-of-the-art. A few can match the grand old SCG for history and tradition.
She may be outdated and old but Brookvale Oval on a sunny Sunday afternoon, yes please. The old hill, the makeshift player tunnel made up of plastic and chicken wire, you can smell the hot dogs, the popcorn.
We know things have to change these days, we know Brookie has to be revamped.
Fans deserve it. Yet the fans I spoke to wouldn't have Brookvale any other way.
MANLY 24 (L Croker 2 R Garrick M Taupau tries D Cherry-Evans 2 R Garrick 2 goals) bt CANBERRA 20 (J Wighton 2 C Nicoll-Klokstad tries J Croker 4 goals) at Lottoland. Referee: Gerard Sutton, Adam Gee. Crowd: 10,706