Geoff Toovey and Roosters counterpart Trent Robinson defended Daly Cherry-Evans' controversial Clive Churchill medal success, describing the Manly halfback as a "deserving" winner.
The Australian and Queensland representative became just the third player in Clive Churchill history to win the award on a losing side after the Roosters peeled off 18 unanswered second-half points to stun Manly 26-18.
Canberra's Brad Clyde (1991) and St George's Brad Mackay (1993) were the only others to have the famous honour bestowed on them despite tasting grand final defeat.
But Toovey said his No.7 was still a worthy winner of the medal, decided on 10 minutes before full time by Test selectors Allan Smith, Des Morris, Bob Fulton and Bob McCarthy.
"Daly's probably a bit embarrassed by it," Toovey said after the grand final on Sunday night. "But you know what? He had a fantastic game and he deserved that. It's just reward for him tonight."
Robinson went a step further, even taking a veiled swipe at the pro-Roosters crowd who roundly jeered Cherry-Evans when he accepted the award on stage at ANZ Stadium.
"I thought Daly was awesome and had a really good game," he said. "I thought it was disappointing, the crowd at that time [booing], I thought he was a courageous player and deserved to win."
Roosters superstar Sonny Bill Williams mounted a compelling case for the Clive Churchill after an inspired second half, which followed a forgettable first 40 minutes.
Williams was the catalyst for Shaun Kenny-Dowall's try mid-way through the second half which vaulted the Roosters to a lead they would never surrender, before charging down-field to help set up Michael Jennings' spectacular match-sealer.
Cherry-Evans ultimately collected the honour to an unfortunate round of jeers from those who hung around for the presentation.
"Obviously a bitter sweet moment," Cherry-Evans said when quizzed on his feeling on the award. "I would definitely swap that for a premiership.
"It's obviously been stereotyped to a winning side and it was a surprising moment."
Kenny-Dowall's try also had a hint of controversy after Maloney threw a suspect pass to skipper Anthony Minichiello, whose long cutout found the Kiwi centre.
"I thought it was sweet," Minichiello countered. "I thought he [Maloney] didn't even see me. I was screaming that hard and he had his eyes to the left, but he just popped out at the last moment and gave me the ball."
Manly coach Toovey was reluctant to criticise the officials for several contentious decisions - including that pass - which went against the gritty Sea Eagles.
"We get in trouble for that," Toovey joked. "Sorry, some of us get in trouble for that.
"Momentum swung towards the end and they took advantage of that. If you're not at the top of your game you're not going to win.
"I spoke to the boys and said how proud I was of them. No one gave us a chance this year. It's great for those blokes to step in all year and do a fantastic job. Everyone lifted a bit more to get us to where we are."