Fulltime score: Round 12 Manly Sea Eagles 36 vs Penrith Panthers 26
Match summary: Manly have produced their biggest ever comeback, and the 8th equal biggest comeback in competition history as they came from 26-6 down early in the second half to overcome the Panthers 36-26. The Panthers led 16-6 at half time.
In a match full of drama, Penrith scored first after seven minutes through Luke Lewis after the Sea Eagles failed to clean up a bomb. Rhys Wesser scored a few minutes later after taking a pass at the line and running 60 metres to score. Manly scored after 20 minutes when captain Michael Monaghan broke through the defence and gave the ball away to Witt who scored under the posts. Kylie Leuluai was placed on report for a high take on Luke Lewis, and Penrith scored from the ensuing set of six after the penalty.
Penrith were first to score after the break despite Manly having the early territorial advantage. Preston Campbell took an intercept on the smallest blind side and raced 50 metres to score. Luke Lewis picked up his second a few minutes later as Manly again failed to recover a bomb, and Lewis scored after some great hands on the right side. Then the comeback began.
Anthony Watmough scored after Penrith couldn't tidy up a chip kick. Michael Witt scored through sheer willpower with 23 minutes to go as he struggled through the defence and touched the ball down, and the score was 26-18. Michael Monaghan scored off the back of two penalties to take the Sea Eagles within two points. Manly scored on the next set of six from the kick off to take the lead as Kennedy broke up the middle and got the ball to speedster Brett Stewart who scored under the posts. Manly completed the win with a try to Scott Donald after a break by Sam Harris in the 76th minute.
Manly have now won 10 games in a row at Brookvale, and are the only team undefeated at home this year. Penrith are rapidly losing touch with the top eight, while Manly secured a top 4 spot.
Scorers: Scorers: MANLY SEA EAGLES 36 Tries: Witt 2, Watmough, Monaghan, Stewart, Donald Goals: Witt (6/6) PENRITH PANTHERS 26 Tries: Lewis 2, Wesser, Rogers, Campbell Goals: Campbell (3/5) Venue: Brookvale Oval Crowd: 14,047 Referee: Paul Simpkins Half time: Panthers 16-6.
Live commentary: 0 min: Penrith kick off at sunny Brookvale.
7 min: TRY - Panthers Penrith recover their bomb and Gower grubber kicks for Lewis to score to the right of the uprights. Campbell converts. Sea Eagles 0 - 6 Panthers.
10 min: TRY - Panthers Wesser splits the defence from 60 metres out and outpaces Brett Stewart to the corner. Campbell misses the conversion. Sea Eagles 0 - 10 Panthers.
15 min: Menzies puts in a huge tackle to force a mistake and take some pressure of the Manly defence.
20 min: TRY - Sea Eagles Monoghan dummies through the defence and puts Witt in under the posts. Witt converts his own try. Sea Eagles 6 - 10 Panthers.
27 min: The game is evening up a lot, however Manly are having all sorts of problems under the high ball.
30 min: NEWS: Manly's Kylie Leuluai is put on report for a high tackle on Luke Lewis.
32 min: TRY - Panthers Ben Rogers barges through the Manly defence to score for Penrith. Campbell converts. Sea Eagles 6 - 16 Panthers.
HALF TIME: Penrith lead Manly by 16-6. Manly have recovered well after giving the Panthers a 10 point start, and the game has evened up in possession terms.
40 min: The match resumes with Manly kicking off.
43 min: TRY - Panthers Preston Campbell takes an intercept on the smallest blind side and wins a 50 metre foot race with Ben Kennedy to score out wide. He fails to convert his own try. Sea Eagles 6 - 20 Panthers.
48 min: TRY - Panthers Penrith recover a poor bomb as Manly can't hold on to it, several plays later Luke Lewis gets his second after a tidy interchange of passing to the right wing. Campbell converts. Sea Eagles 6 - 26 Panthers.
51 min: TRY - Sea Eagles Penrith muck up the restart, Manly chip the ball into the in goal and Watmough scores under the posts. Witt converts. Sea Eagles 12 - Panthers 26.
56 min: CROWD: 14,047.
57 min: TRY - Sea Eagles Witt spins, junkes, jinks, dives and scores his second try, all from within 5 metres. He converts his try. Sea Eagles 18 - 26 Panthers.
61 min: The Sea Eagles are storming back into the game, they are now getting the 50/50 calls.
64 min: TRY - Sea Eagles Following two penalties Monaghan shrugs off some slack tackes and scores. Witt converts. Sea Eagles 24 - 26 Panthers.
66 min: TRY - Sea Eagles Kennedy goes right up the middle and gets the ball away to Stewart who streaks away to score under the posts. Witt converts. Sea Eagles 30 - 26 Panthers.
69 min: Wesser has the ball knocked out by Kennedy, referee gives Manly the ball and they go on attack again.
72 min: NEWS - Terry Hill taken with with a probable groin injury.
76 min: TRY - Sea Eagles Manly complete their biggest ever comeback with a try to Scott Donald after Kennedy slipped a great inside ball to Sam Harris. Witt adds insult to injury and converts from near the sideline. Sea Eagles 36 - 26 Panthers.
The 8th biggest comeback of all time.
FULL TIME: Manly have produced the 8th biggest comeback of all time, and the best comeback in their history, making amends for a 72-12 hiding last year by Penrith.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - B Kennedy (Sea Eagles) 2 - A Watmough (Sea Eagles) 1 - S Menzies (Sea Eagles) -----------------------------------------