WATCH: Rain and ref shocker mar Manly victory
SOME tenacious goal-line defence and a referee shocker have handed Manly a gritty victory over Newcastle in a Brookvale bog slog.
The home of the Sea Eagles was turned into a mud pit when the heavens opened before kick-off, and the rain continued for most of the 80 minutes.
It was tough going for players, fans and referees alike - the latter ensuring the Sea Eagles victory with a shocking missed call late in the game.
Akuila Uate scored a double against his former club but the second try should have never been awarded, as replays showed the Manly winger clearly spilt the ball over the line.
The replays were shown on the big screen at Lottoland and Newcastle players blew up at the referees, who didn't act despite the conversion having not yet been taken.
Replays also made it look like the sideline referee should have been in a position to see the knock-on.
Melbourne champion Cooper Cronk - sitting on the Fox Sports studio panel - said after the game the NRL bunker should have the power to overturn tries after they've been awarded.
"I think in the context of the game you should be able to change it," Cronk said.
The try was worth six points thanks to the Matthew Wright conversion from the sideline, and Manly ended up winning by four points.
"In the end it was an obvious knock-on," Fox Sports commentator Braith Anasta said post-game.
"He fooled every, the way he celebrate convinced everyone it was a try and it wasn't."
If the try had have been overturned, Newcastle would have scored their first win at Brookvale in 11 years.
Still, neither side could claim they fully deserved to take the two points home.
Newcastle's defence was steeled early on as they held out three consecutive Manly sets attacking the line in the opening eight minutes.
The Sea Eagles were awarded a penalty then earned a dropout but the Knights somehow kept them at bay for a five-minute period, highlighted by a sensational one-on-one trysaver from Dane Gagai on former teammate Akuila Uate across the line.
Two players later Jaelen Feeney miraculously knocked the ball loose from Matthew Wright's grasp just inches from scoring a try.
Their grit paid off 10 minutes later when a superb Brock Lamb 40/20 resulted in a penalty and the first points of the game from a Newcastle penalty kick.
But when Nathan Ross left the field for a head injury assessment barely a minute later, the Sea Eagles took advantage to set Uate up for a try on his right wing.
Manly forward Addin Fonua-Blake was put on report for mindlessly sticking his leg out and tripping Brock Lamb as the latter chased his own kick through.
The senseless act handed Newcastle another set at the Sea Eagles line, but again they failed to break through.
Fonua-Blake then coughed up possession a set later to hand the Knights more field position, and this time young half Feeney capitalised with a try off his own grubber.
The conversion from Lamb handed Newcastle an 8-6 lead heading into halftime.
In the first half the Knights completed 17 of 19 sets, while the home side held the ball just 12 of 17 sets.
A 10-minute slog after half time culminated in a try to Manly when Curtis Sironen waltzed through a soft Knights defence to retake the lead.
A superb 40/20 from Blake Green in the next set kept the momentum going and almost resulted in a try. Green chipped right but Uate was judged to have taken out opponent Brendan Elliott in the air before scoring.
The Knights had their second and third players taken off for a HIA when hooker Danny Levi and forward Jacob Saifiti left the field in the 58th minute.
Uate again took advantage of the disruption to beat Elliott out wide and was awarded a try - even though replays clearly showed a knock-on over the line.
As Knights players blew up at the referee to no avail, the Wright conversion took the lead to 18-8.
Levi passed his HIA and returned to the field to score a scooting try from dummy half in the 75th minute and give the visitors a sniff.
There was four points in it and despite some Knights desperation in the dying minutes Manly held on to win.