MANLY remain unbeaten on top of the Shute Shield table after their 31-24 win over Warringah at Manly Oval yesterday.
It was the Marlins' sixth win in a row as their pack showed the necessary grit to account for a determined Rats side that threw everything at their local rivals in a bruising and undisciplined match.
Manly scored five tries to two, with Warringah's fly-half Hamish Angus kicking five out of six, enough to keep Warringah in touch throughout the match and eventually gaining a bonus point.
The Rats started strongly with plenty of possession but were only able to take three points early. The Marlins' strong defence was typified by a bone-crunching hit by Jordy Reid and Dane Maraki that jolted the ball from flanker Sam Ward, ending the Rats' period of dominance.
Manly started to gain more possession through their superior pack, gaining field position through effective pick and drives, eventually capitalising through a try to replacement Damien Reti.
Kicking from both teams was poor. Neither were able to gain dominance before Mark Porpiglia received a yellow card for intentional offside and swung the game in the Marlins' favour.
Second-rower Ryan Melrose capitalised on the numerical advantage, scoring a blindside try from a lineout as the Marlins led 12-6 at half-time.
The second half started with ferocity as the Rats came out trying to match the Marlins' physicality. Warringah fullback David Feltscheer was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle that resulted in a fight. Manly used their numerical advantage to score two tries, one each to props Eddie Aholelei and Dane Maraki.
Meanwhile, the Students bounced back from last week's loss to Southern Districts by convincingly accounting for Northern Suburbs 30-10 at University Oval No.1 on Friday night. Penrith 21 upset Randwick 19, Southern Districts 57 accounted for Gordon 22, Easts 52 beat West Harbour 26, and Eastwood 25 overcame Parramatta 20.