It could have actually been worse for the Roosters. As if losing 42 blot wasn’t bad enough, had Manly capitalised on a staggering 70% possession rate in the first 20 minutes they could have easily run up 60 points on the hapless Sydney Roosters as the visitors fumbled and bumbled they way through the visit to Brookvale Oval.
The big win sends Manly to the top of the NRL ladder for now and the Roosters have their confidence and credentials severely dented as they try to work out what went wrong.
The Sea Eagles notched their sixth straight win over the Roosters in the eight tries to nil romp to lead the ladder on percentage before Melbourne’s clash with Gold Coast at Skilled Park on Monday night.
Manly defeated the Roosters 56-0 in their last encounter but this fixture was expected to be a close contest.
However, from the opening moments the Sea Eagles picked the Roosters apart with skipper Matt Orford and Jamie Lyon wreaking havoc behind their dominant pack.
“I can’t be much prouder of what the guys did today,” Orford said.
“It was not very good conditions but we played direct football and got a very good result.”
The Roosters were missing Origin stars Willie Mason, Craig Fitzgibbon, Anthony Tupou and Nate Myles from their engine room while Manly were without Brett Stewart.
The men from Bondi Junction still cleaned up Parramatta without their Origin stars last month but were simply outgunned by the Sea Eagles.
Manly were on top early with Steve Bell crossing twice in the first 10 minutes.
The Sea Eagles centre scurried out of dummy half and stepped through some feeble defence for the opening try before Orford put him through as the home side opened up a 10-0 lead.
Manly were in again in the 33rd minute – a skidding Lyon pass finding winger David Williams for a 14-0 half-time advantage in the greasy conditions.
Lyon laughed about his pass post-match.
“That was always the game plan throw it low, hit the ground and let it roll,” he joked.
“We had a bit of luck you need that in those games, sometimes they come off sometimes they don’t.
“We were just lucky they came off for us today.”
The second half started badly for the Roosters with centre Brent Grose penalised for a lifting tackle on Michael Robertson which could attract attention from the judiciary this week. And forward Mickey Paea was reported for a high shot on Josh Perry.
The Sea Eagles put more distance between themselves and the Roosters with a sweetly timed 40-metre movement that ended in Orford touching down eight minutes after half-time.
The scoreline ballooned out to 26-0 only three minutes later with the ball springing loose from Roosters winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall’s grasp and Lyon crossed under the sticks.
Even the intermittent rain couldn’t stop the Sea Eagles with backrower Anthony Watmough joining the try-scoring list moments later and by then it was just a case of by how many.
“We were pretty sloppy at times and we looked pretty second rate,” said Roosters coach Brad Fittler.
Manly back-rower Glenn Stewart’s knee injury was not as serious as first thought and he could be back following the bye next weekend.
Anthony Watmough, who ran for 157 metres and bagged a four-pointer, was delighted with how the Sea Eagles applied pressure to Brad Fittler’s weakened side.
“We really dug in that first half, we got a bit scrappy towards the second half there and we knew the amount of possession we had was going to take its toll on them,” he told ABC Grandstand.
“We knew they weren’t going to shift [the football] inside their 30 metres, so we just compressed.”
Watmough praised coach Des Hasler for successfully managing a back line re-shuffle to cater for the loss of Blues’ full-back Brett Stewart.
“It’s a credit to our coaching staff, Michael Robertson came in at full-back and had a blinder,” he said.
Bell, whose two tries played a crucial part in arresting the Roosters’ four-match winning streak, celebrated his 50th game for the Sea Eagles.
“It’s a bit of a milestone, I’m grateful to play 50 and to have it here at Brooky was great,” he said.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy but we put our best foot forward.”
Sea Eagles: 42 (S Bell 2, D Williams 2, M Orford, J Lyon, A Watmough, N Bradley-Qalilawa tries; M Orford 5 conversions)