It was meant to be a walkover victory, but Thursday night turned into a not-so-happy trip north of the bridge for the Roosters.
The Chooks were short-priced favourites and Manly shot out to $6.50 after seven first-grade players boycotted the game for fear of wearing a jersey with a rainbow on it.
But the spirited Sea Eagles put up one hell of a fight, with a number of debutants sticking it to the finals-fancied tricolours but losing 20-10.
AS IT HAPPENED: Spirited Sea Eagles lose to Roosters in fiery scrap
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For the Chooks, they are facing the possibility of losing Origin forward Lindsay Collins for the rest of the season.
He was knocked out by a head clash early in the contest. He had only just returned from a concussion suffered during the Origin decider.
“If this is Lindsay Collins, this is his first game back from Origin III… this is a real worry for Lindsay,” Andrew Johns said.
“I’d say this will be his season gone.
“He’s out before he hits the ground. That’s hard to watch.”
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The Roosters will also be sweating on the NRL’s match review committee on Friday morning.
Notorious line-stepper Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is on report for driving his forearm into the neck and face of Manly debutant Zac Fulton – the grandson of Immortal Bob Fulton.
The pair had a running battle and it was a dirty act from the Roosters veteran.
His teammate Egan Butcher is also on report for whacking James Segeyaro in the head with a nasty swinging arm in the final minute of the contest.
He was sin-binned, as was Manly centre Morgan Harper who ran in to remonstrate.
Johns was impressed by the tenacity of the undermanned Sea Eagles.
“I thought the Roosters would win by 50,” Johns said.
“But the spirit of Des… their senior players… have led the way.”
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