JAMES POLSON: That's it from us tonight. A comprehensive seven-try effort from Manly gets the home side the chocolates and, with it, the competition lead, at least until tomorrow when the Bulldogs travel to Melbourne to face the Storm. We'll be back tomorrow evening with Ash Gray in the chair for that one. Thanks for your company tonight, and be sure to grab a copy of tomorrow's Herald or log on to smh.com.au for all the wash-up as well as the rest of Australia's best sporting news and analysis. Adios.
79 min: They're in again! Entertaining stuff there from the Eagles as Kieran Foran puts a kick over the top, Brett Stewart gets to it before getting it to Cherry-Evans who puts it on the toe himself before diving over the line. Sea Eagles 38 Tigers 8, kick to come.
78 min: Conversion successful. Manly 34 Tigers 8 with two minutes to play.
76 min: TRY to Manly. Daly Cherry-Evans makes the break before passing inside to Brett Stewart and that'll do you. We're going upstairs, as you do, for no apparent reason but who doesn't love some suspense? Manly 32 Tigers 8, kick to come.
69 min: Tigers score again through David Nofoaluma. Sea Eagles 28 Tigers 8, kick to come.
67 min: Clinton Gutherson is limping off. Looks like a corked thigh, but what do I know....
67 min: Steve Matai passes to no one and that's the end of the that for the Sea Eagles.
65 min: What appears to be another Tigers' error is a penalty their way.
59 min: The Tigers are on the board. Blake Austin makes the break and is brought down 20m out from the Manly line but once it gets to Chris Lawrence and Keith Lulia there's no stopping him. Manly 28 Tigers 4, kick to come.
Make or break: Clinton Gutherson looks for options for the Sea Eagles. Photo: Anthony Johnson
56 min: Matt Ballin can't find a way though. Fourth tackle for Manly on the half-way line.
52 min: Jamie Lyon lands the conversion from the sideline. Manly 28 Tigers 0.
51 min: TRY. You can't hold them out long. Gutherson over in the corner off the back of a sublime cut-out ball from Kieran Foran. Manly 26 Tigers 0, kick to come.
51 min: That didn't take long. Cherry-Evans gets it away to Jamie Buhrer who may well have been prevented from scoring.
50 min: Manly have another set of six just inches out from the Tigers' line.
Friends in high places: the Prime Minister of Australia, Steve Menzies, chats with north shore identity Tony Abbott before kick-off. Photo: Getty Images
46 min: Peta Hiku tackled in goals and the Tigers will get another crack at the Manly line.
43 min: A few technical gremlins in the system early on here, apologies. The Tigers have a penalty right on the Manly line.
JAMES POLSON: It could be a long night ahead for the Tigers and their fans. A solid start came to nothing as Manly almost immediately opened the scoring at the other end and it's scarcely gotten better for the visitors. Of most concern is the fact Daly Cherry-Evans has been fairly quiet, allowing the likes of Stewart, Foran and young Clinton Gutherson to dictate terms. If Manly keep this up and he gets into the game this could blow out. Silly errors have cost the Tigers, who haven't been short of opportunities, but the Eagles have been scoring from range almost at will. Back soon.
Half-time: Manly 22 Tigers 0.
40 min: Jamie Lyon adds the extras and that will do us for half-time. Manly 22 Tigers 0. Back in a few moments with Adam Pengilly's take on the opening stanza.
39 min: TRY. Foran has his double as well. He's been on fire tonight showing speed the likes we've rarely seen from him. He hits a Ballin offload at full tilt and takes two Tigers plus Brett Stewart for good measure over the line with him. Manly 20 Tigers 0, kick to come.
38 min: Brett Stewart does well to take Curtis Sironen in goal and force the dropout.
36 min: And just like that, Taupau spills it. Score remains Manly 16 Tigers 0 with four minutes until the break.
35 min: And another one - Manly pinged for an illegal strip 10m out from their own line.
35 min: David Nofoaluma makes the break for the Tigers this time and they win a penalty from the subsequent play.
33 min: Penalty to the Tigers. Mitchell Moses has been getting plenty of attention tonight.
31 min: That's more like it from the Tigers. Martin Taupau makes the bust up the middle and is only neutralised by the last line of defence in Brett Stewart. Sadly, the black and gold lose it on the next play.
30 min: The Tigers do well to hold Manly out this time and it's a changeover.
25 min: TRY. Clinton Gutherson fields a Tigers kick 20m from his own line before showing some speed to sprint down the sideline and offload to Kieran Foran who scores Manly's third under the sticks, again out of nothing. Manly 14 Tigers 0, kick to come. It could be a long night at the Bald Faced Stag....
We had the PM earlier, now here's the mayor of Tigertown weighing in on things:
Worst 20 mins of refereeing this year. Hope Shane Hayne has a look at twitter at half time #nrlmanwst— Darcy Byrne (@MayorDarcy) July 11, 2014
Pat Richards is off for the Tigers having succumbed to an injury he picked up in the early stages of tonight's clash.
21 min: Aaron Woods, who'd done some great work in this set, spills it in the play-the-ball on the last 10m out from the Manly line.
Score remains 10-0 to Manly as we approach the half-way mark of the opening term.
Hit-up: the best head in rugby league or, as he's known to his nearest and dearest, Aaron Woods, gets involved at Brookvale. Photo: Getty Images
11 min: Justin Horo placed on report for a crusher tackle on Mitchell Moses and the Tigers have a chance to get back into this one.
It was a high-scoring affair in tonight's Holden Cup clash, with the Sea Eagles coming from behind to topple the Tigers 40-32.
9 min: Jamie Lyon can't land the conversion from the sideline. Score remains Manly 10 Tigers 0.
9 min: TRY. Hiku looks to have crossed again in the corner. At this rate he'll end up with 18 for the match. We're going upstairs but there'll be no problems here. Manly 10 Tigers 0.
8 min: Aaron Woods penalised at marker. Another one goes Manly's way.
7 min: Stewart looks to break through again and gets the offload away but it's the Tigers who get there first. Six again for the hosts.
The try has been awarded. Manly 4 Wests Tigers 0, kick to come. The Tigers are still blowing up the referees not having another look at Nofoaluma's effort at the other end, meanwhile. And it looks like they may have a case. Stay tuned, connoisseurs of controversy.
4 min: TRY. How quickly this game can change. It's Brett Stewart who makes the bust before offloading to understudy Hiku who might have made up for that earlier fumble here. The refs are going upstairs to look at an earlier potential obstruction however.
3 min: A let-off gets even better for Manly now as the hosts are awarded the game's first penalty. Steve Matai resumes from Manly's 40m line.
3 min: David Nofoaluma steps half the Manly side and weaves his way to the corner but appears to have dropped the ball en route to scoring.
2 min: Peta Hiku has knocked on right on the Manly line and the Tigers have a sensational opportunity to draw first blood.
1 min: Kieran Foran's kick goes straight down the throat of Tigers fullback Mitchell Moses.
We're finally under way at Brookvale and Cherry-Evans has an inauspicious start, dropping the kick-off backwards. No damage done there.
Stretch it out. #nrlmanwst https://t.co/XyTzFj2AZ3 — Wests Tigers (@Wests_Tigers) July 11, 2014
Here's Adam Pengilly's take as the sides hit the field:
Think Prime Minister Tony Abbott is stressing about his bid to repeal the carbon tax stalling in Parliament? Think again. Australia's top dog has swapped his No 1 ticket in Canberra for the No.1 ticket at Brookvale Oval to be on the northern beaches for the bumper Sea Eagles-Tigers clash on Friday night.
Good news for the PM? He can at least rely on one Queenslander. Not Clive Palmer, but Daly Cherry-Evans. The Sea Eagles halfback will back up after his Origin exertions on Wednesday night.
Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods will do likewise for the Tigers.
Jorge Taufua and Jason King are out for the hosts with Clinton Gutherson coming onto the wing and Tyson Andrews will make his NRL debut off the bench in place of King.
Sauaso Sue replaces Matt Lodge on the Tigers' bench in the only change for the joint venture.
Manly skipper Jamie Lyon will play his 250th NRL game tonight, while Dene Halatau will make it No.200 in the top grade.
JAMES POLSON: Good evening and welcome to Brookvale Oval for live coverage as round 18 kicks off with the high-flying Sea Eagles hosting the Tigers. Premiership favourites Manly surrendered pole position on the NRL ladder last week following their disappointing loss to the Bulldogs and will be keen to atone for that this evening while the Tigers are one of seven teams on 20 points and can go from 10th to fourth with an upset tonight. Origin stars on both sides are backing up so this could be an interesting one but I'm sticking with my boys - Manly by 12. We'll be back in a few moments with team news from our man on the ground, Adam Pengilly.
SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon (c), Steve Matai, Peta Hiku, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh Starling, Matt Ballin, Brenton Lawrence, Jamie Buhrer, Justin Horo, Dunamis Lui. Interchange: Jesse Sene-Lefao, James Hasson, Tom Symonds, Jason King.
TIGERS: Mitchell Moses, David Nofoaluma, Keith Lulia, Chris Lawrence, Pat Richards, Blake Austin, Luke Brooks, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah (c), Keith Galloway, Curtis Sironen, Dene Halatau, Adam Blair. Interchange: Matthew Lodge, Martin Taupau, Ava Seumanufagai, James Gavet.
Head to head: Sea Eagles 12, Tigers 8.
Last time: Tigers 34 bt Sea Eagles 18 at Leichhardt Oval (round 5, 2014).
Ladbrokes: Sea Eagles $1.22, Tigers $4.33
Betfair: Sea Eagles $1.27, Tigers $4.50
Michael Chammas writes: The Tigers are hopeful Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods will back up, while Manly should welcome back Daly Cherry-Evans. Manly should be too strong at Brookvale Oval, but some Luke Brooks magic could ignite the Tigers.
Tip: Sea Eagles by 10