Manly and Canberra both suffered potential season-ending casualties before Daly Cherry-Evans slotted a golden-point field goal to sink the Raiders 21-20 on Sunday.
But Canberra lost no admirers in a brutal NRL clash in which they were down two forwards in the first 20 minutes but still scored 14 unanswered points in the second half to send the game into extra time.
Bench forward Dunamis Lui’s season could be over after he suffered a possible anterior cruciate ligament tear, while the Raiders are hopeful Kangaroos prop Shannon Boyd’s knee problem is only a minor medial strain.
Meanwhile Manly’s win could also have come at a loss – Jorge Taufua carried from the field late amid fears he too had torn his ACL.
It typified a power game full of big hits.
Canberra winger Jordan Rapana was in everything in the second half, scoring both of the Raiders’ comeback tries – including a 70-metre run in the 70th minute to put Canberra back within two.
He also set up the Raiders’ only first-half try for Blake Austin after he broke away down field, capping off a 203-metre display that included seven tackle busts.
But their comeback was ended when Junior Paulo spilled a ball in their first set of golden point, allowing Cherry-Evans to condemn Canberra to their third extra-time loss of the year and put them out of the NRL’s top eight.
“They’re a hard way to lose,” Canberra coach Ricky Stuart said.
“They’re a very courageous bunch – that’s why I love coaching them.
“Unfortunately we put ourselves in a very difficult position with that first-half performance and we paid for it.”
Cherry-Evans had earlier been the Sea Eagles’ best as they claimed just their second win from six matches at Lottoland this season.
Barely considered by Queensland as a replacement for Johnathan Thurston, he set up Manly’s opening try with a bullet pass for Dylan Walker.
He also bagged one himself before halftime, the last of three in an 11 minute run that came back to bite the Raiders.
The Manly No.7’s kicking game was also at its best. He forced five line dropouts with his boot – including one in the second half when he chased his own kick from near halfway.
“That’s what the good halfbacks do,” Manly coach Trent Barrett said.
“Six weeks ago we would have lost that. The team is coming along nicely and it was a very gutsy effort from our blokes.”
It was the second time sixth-placed Manly have claimed victory over the Raiders in golden point this season, having also beaten them 20-18 in Canberra in round six.