Nathan Cleary's emotion-filled week has taken a dip after his sin-binning helped Manly consign Penrith to a second-straight NRL loss.
Just six days after Cleary helped guide NSW to a tide-turning State of Origin series victory, Cleary was the villain against the lowly ranked Sea Eagles on Saturday in the home side's 18-10 defeat at Panthers Stadium.
With scores locked at 10-10 with 15 minutes to play, Cleary was ruled by the NRL's bunker to have held Daly Cherry-Evans off the ball as he chased his own grubber kick close to the line.
The Blues halfback was sent to the bin for the professional foul then Trent Hodkinson kicked a penalty goal for Manly to take a 12-10 lead.
Manly then took full advantage five minutes later when Jake Trbojevic spun and provided an offload for Hodkinson to buck Manly's four-game losing streak and put space between them and the bottom of the ladder.
But the win came as a cost for Manly, who lost star centre Dylan Walker to a knee collision when he was carried off the field early in the second half.
Winger Matthew Wright also injured his shoulder while scoring a try and Martin Taupau ran 128m and busted five tackles just two days after getting home on his delayed return from Denver.
"It was really gutsy," Manly coach Trent Barrett said.
"It wasn't pretty. We turned over a lot of footy. But we hung in and hung in and hung in.
"Just really proud of the players that they've stuck together over the past month. It's been difficult."
Penrith also lost powerful second-rower Viliame Kikau to a knee injury cork but officials are confident he can play the Warriors on Friday night.
The loss drops Anthony Griffin's men back to fourth and behind Melbourne on the ladder following four straight wins before a defeat last round to the Roosters.
"We've just lost a bit of rhythm and momentum at the moment," Griffin said.
"There's no excuses for it but clearly today we were nowhere near where we needed to be."
In a match that never reached any great heights, neither team completed at more than 70 per cent, while Manly gave away 10 penalties to Penrith's six.
After they led 8-6 at the break, Penrith invited Manly back into the match when James Fisher-Harris dropped the ball on the first run of the second half and put the Sea Eagles on the attack.
The Sea Eagles made the most of it when Tom Trbojevic cut out two men to put over Matthew Wright.
It was the fullback's second assist of the match after he also sent Joel Thompson through a gap for Manly's other try early.