The Canberra Raiders struggled mightily in attack as Manly defied some early injuries on their way to a 14-6 victory at Campbelltown Stadium on Sunday 21 June.
Manly lost Dylan Walker and Brad Parker for the match within the first five minutes but still managed to control the opening of the game.
Tom Trbojevic opened the scoring for Manly in the 13th minute, slicing through the Raiders left-edge and taking Curtis Scott with him as he planted the ball down to give Manly a 6-0 lead.
Manly scored their second try just before half-time after a controversial penalty against George Williams.
Again, Manly attacked the left-edge of the Raiders and it was Tevita Funa who crossed over after a pass from Trbojevic to give Manly a 12-0 lead at the half.
The Raiders came out of the half-time break fired up and, after some good field position, Elliott Whitehead scored in the 49th minute to make it 12-6 and get the Raiders back into the contest.
Manly was then reduced to just one on the bench with 30 minutes still to go after their star Tom Trbojevic limped from the field with yet another hamstring injury.
It wouldn’t make a difference in this match though, as some poor discipline from the Raiders saw Manly get a penalty kick right in front to make it 14-6 after 55 minutes.
Jarrod Croker looked to have given the Raiders a late chance after taking a spectacular catch off a George Williams kick, but he was found to have knocked on when it was sent to the bunker.
Jordan Rapana also looked to have crossed in the corner late in the match, but a great try-saving tackle from Curtis Sironen snuffed any chance of a late Raiders comeback.
A pass from Josh Hodgson that smacked straight into an unsuspecting Corey Horsburgh summed up the Raiders in attack, as they struggled to get anything going.
The Raiders only had 42% of possession and made things more difficult by making 15 errors compared to 8 for Manly.
The Raiders were also ill-disciplined in defence, giving away 7 penalties to 2 and several more six-again infringements.
It was a gutsy win from the depleted Manly side but it raised many questions about the Raiders spluttering attack, with coach Ricky Stuart saying they need to fix it quickly.
“Stats aren’t lying there – we are struggling with attack,” Stuart said.
“It’s what I just told the players … we spoke quite thoroughly after the game. I can see where our issues are and we’ve got not a lot of time before next week’s game and we’ve got to fix it really quickly.
“You’ve got to have a little bit more football first, but even when we have got the football since we’ve come back from the break we have been poor offensively.
“It’s certainly not time now to be throwing everything out and starting all over again. We’re not far away and it can be fixed quickly. We don’t want to be looking at these four to five weeks down the track because that’s when it is too late.
“We need to identify it, which we have, and it wasn’t just tonight – it is something we have been talking about for a couple of weeks now and we need to correct it.”
The Raiders will be desperate to rectify their attack as they come up against the ladder-leading Parramatta Eels this Saturday 27 June at Bankwest Stadium.