A poor start had the Newcastle Knights chasing.
Despite some positive signs in the second, Manly always kept control.
Back to the drawing board for Newcastle who suffered their fourth loss for the season.
It was an easy four pointer for Manly; a clinical play out wide with a pin-point pass by Kane Elgey to Jorge Tafua all alone on the left. Daley Cherry-Evans added the extras to see the visitors take the early lead, 6-0.
Kalyn Ponga created some magic in his usual style with a thrilling run past a host of defenders. It forced the penalty and the Knights had it 30 metres out with six under their belt.
But a disappointing next few minutes of football from the Knights, as Manly charged through the middle and broke free to see Reuben Garrick push his way to the line. The Sea Eagles led 12-0 after just 10 minutes.
Cherry-Evans was on his way to Manly’s third but Edrick Lee came up with a try saver and forced the ball loose. The Knights gained back possession.
Bad news continued for Newcastle, this time it was Joel Thompson to add another for Manly; the score line blew out to 18-0.
A run of penalties gave the Knights some hope but Manly had them under wraps before the visitors pulled off a 40/20 to stack the pressure on.
A sigh of relief for the red and blue as finally some points delivered before halftime. A Ponga grubber found Lee on the run as he spun around a defender to ground it.
Ponga nailed the kick and the Knights trailed 18-6 at the break.
In the second, some early penalties favoured the Knights which brought them within 10 metres of the line. Daniel Saifiti charged over but he was held up and Manly stayed calm to keep the Knights scoreless.
Another opportunity as Elgey fumbled the ball but again Newcastle couldn’t capitalise.
In the 49th minute, a big drive from Connor Watson got the ball to within millimetres of the line; from dummy half Aidan Guerra picked it up and barged through. It went to the bunker and a try was awarded.
Ponga added the conversion and the Knights were on the comeback. Newcastle trailed 18-12.
Down the other end, a penalty gifted Cherry-Evans a kick. It hit the post and the Knights scrambled to get the ball back. They did but Watson made the error.
Minutes later it was back in Cherry-Evans’ hands. A straight forward penalty kick in front of the uprights. Manly led 20-12.
A shonky kick by Ponga went straight up in the air but Lee made the catch and flicked it back to Ponga. It then via Tim Glasby before going back to Ponga who crossed over. But it went to the bunker and a replay revealed Lee dragged his foot over the line.
62 minutes in and a lapse from the Knights. A big hole opened up in the defensive line for Addin Fonau-Blake to glide through for another Manly try. Manly stretched out their lead, 26-12.
Finally, a breakthrough! Through the hands of James Gavet to Mitch Barnett who ran it through for the Knights third. Ponga wasted no time with the kick as they trailed 26-18.
Minutes later Mitchell Pearce got under the high ball but was taken out by Fonau-Blake. The contact saw him sent to the sin bin and Manly had just 12 on the field with 12 minutes to go.
Play stopped after Aidan Guerra went down. He was medicabbed off with a leg injury and it was all over from there.
Manly played out the match for a 26-18 victory and their third straight win.
Knights 18 (Lee, Guerra, Barnett G: Ponga 3/3)