A hat-trick of tries to young winger Michael Oldfield has helped Manly overcome St George Illawarra 20-8 in a dour clash at Brookvale Oval on Friday night.
Oldfield, who is off-contract at the end of the season, must have improved his hopes of a new deal with the premiers with a superb display of finishing to push the Sea Eagles back into the NRL top four.
It was the 21-year-old's sixth try in just six appearances this season and ensured Manly bounced back to form after their embarrassing loss to Penrith last weekend.
Anthony Watmough did his chances of a State of Origin recall no harm with another tireless display, while skipper Jamie Lyon was outstanding, laying on two tries for his winger.
Five-eighth Kieran Foran was also strong in his first game back from an ankle injury, despite limping through most of the match.
The Dragons were brave throughout and trailed by just two points heading into the last 10 minutes before two late tries put the game to bed in front of almost 12,000 fans at Brookvale.
Steve Price's side have now won just one from their last five games and are fast losing touch with the top eight.
It was the Dragons who got their noses in front inside the first six minutes, when Jamie Soward slotted a penalty goal.
Manly slowly got on top and had the first try of the match just before the midway point of the half through Oldfield.
The Dragons defence rushed up on Lyon, with the Sea Eagles skipper assessing the situation perfectly to put a kick into the corner which the young winger pounced on to score.
Lyon's conversion from the sideline had the hosts in front 6-2.
The Sea Eagles went close to extending their lead 10 minutes later but some sensational last-ditch defence from Brett Morris and Trent Merrin saw Watmough spill the ball as he reached out for a try.
The visitors also had their chances before the break and Daniel Vidot looked set to score when he leapt highest to catch Soward's pin-point bomb.
But Foran and Matt Ballin managed to get underneath the winger and prevent him from getting the ball over the line to keep the home side in front at half-time.
Whatever Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey said at the break had the desired affect with Oldfield crossing for his second inside the first three minutes.
Again it was Lyon that played a key role, with a superb catch-and-pass allowing his winger to tip-toe down the sideline and touch down in the corner.
The Dragons hit back 10 minutes later when Vidot barged his way over to reduce the margin to just two points but late tries to Oldfield and Darcy Lussick in the final six minutes ensured the win for Manly.
Tries: Olfield 3, Lussick
Goals: Lyon 2
St George Illawarra 8
Goals: Soward 2