Manly cling to top spot

Sea Eagles fullback Brett Stewart juggles the ball in their match against a dogged Gold Coast Titans. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Sea Eagles fullback Brett Stewart juggles the ball in their match against a dogged Gold Coast Titans. Picture: GETTY IMAGES


Manly returned to the top of the NRL ladder on Sunday but were less than convincing in a 15-12 win over the struggling Gold Coast Titans.

The Sea Eagles, who went into the game on the back of a 24-4 defeat to second-placed South Sydney last week, overcame a dogged Titans side being coached by Neil Henry for the first time.

Tries from Kieran Foran and Brett Stewart paved the way but it was a late Daly Cherry-Evans field goal that sealed the two points, just before Kalifa Faifai Loa crossed late for the hosts.

With three rounds of the season remaining, the Sea Eagles can wrap up a top-two finish going into the finals with victories in two of their last three games against Parramatta, Penrith and North Queensland.

The inconsistent Warriors could have moved into the top five with a win over a rejuvenated Newcastle side but were made to rue Chad Townsend's poor kicking.

Townsend converted just one of five attempts on goal as the Knights held on to win a thrilling game 28-22 at Hunter Stadium.

Melbourne and the Sydney Roosters showed signs of hitting their best form at the right time of the season on Saturday with huge wins over struggling Cronulla and Wests Tigers, respectively.

The Storm ran in nine tries to down the injury-plagued Sharks 48-6 at AAMI Park, while the Roosters scored eight to win 48-4 against a feeble Tigers outfit who have let in 110 points in their last two matches.

Paul McGregor's hopes of getting the St George Illawarra job on a permanent basis were given a huge boost by becoming the first Dragons coach in 14 years to win in Canberra.

The longest hoodoo in the NRL was ended thanks to a Brett Morris hat-trick, and Raiders coach Ricky Stuart now faces a battle to avoid a second successive wooden spoon, having led Parramatta to bottom place last year..

The Sharks and Raiders do battle at Remondis Stadium on Sunday in what will be a battle to avoid the dreaded kitchen utensil.

Parramatta's hopes of a top-eight finish were dealt a huge blow as Canterbury held on to beat the Eels 18-16 at ANZ Stadium on Friday.

The most impressive performance of the round was from South Sydney, who hammered Brisbane 42-16, with Greg Inglis scoring a hat-trick. AAP


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