Heading into Round 8, trailling Sutherland Sharks by one-point on the ladder, Phil Moss? Manly made the most of the Sharks? slip-up at home on Saturday evening ? a 0-0 draw against Blacktown City ? to take over the top-spot for the first-time this season.
A flawless second-half display consolidated Craig Midgley?s first-half strike, as Roberto Hamad added a second goal in the 71? minute.
A quick-fire double by Ashley Ryan in the final 15? minutes of the match brought back memories of last season?s victory at CUA Stadium, a convincing 3-0 win on that day for Manly.
Penrith?s dominance at home this season was completely negated by Manly, as the rewards are being reaped by a side that has played together for many years now.
On Saturday evening, a spirited display from Blacktown City Demons ? who are showing a new lease of life following last weekend?s first win of the season ? saw Ken Schembri?s side dominate the Sharks for spells throughout the encounter.
Some sturdy defence by the Sharks ? once again Phillip Zabaks was at his best ? helped the home-side keep a clean sheet, meanwhile at the other end the Demons would not be beaten.
The Sharks were made to play the entire second-half with ten-men as David Reid was shown a straight red-card for dissent.
At Marconi Stadium the Stallions again failed to collect their first win of the season ? it is now 0 wins from 8 matches for David Barrett?s men.
Marconi took a commanding 2-0 lead against the Berries inside of the first 35? minutes, though squandered their good work with a 2? minute spell of madness in the dying stages of the first-half.
The Stallions? go-ahead goals were scored by Tallan Martin and Ante Deur, though the Berries drew level before the break.
Nicolo Sama?s solo effort pulled one goal back in the 44? minute, before John Tsironis diverted a Ryan Jones cross into the back of the net to draw Scott Baillie?s side level.
The Stallions? disappointing evening was summed-up in the final moments of the match as one of their better performers in this disastrous start to the season ? Stefan Donevski ? missed two identical ?sitters? in quick succession.
The job at hand for David Barrett?s men has not been made any easier, and it does now seem beyond the Stallions to salvage anything from a season to forget ? even at this early stage.
Macarthur Rams frustrated another title contender in Round 8, this time holding Sydney Olympic to a draw at Campbelltown Sports Ground.
The Rams dominated proceedings for large spells throughout the encounter, the Blues? definitely felt the absence of Shannon Cole and Matteo Mayora.
Paul Carter?s men almost claimed the win in the dying minutes when Shannon Hankin?s precise cross picked out James Young in the centre of the penalty-area, though his effort finished wide.
On Sunday afternoon Sydney United returned to the winner?s list with an emphatic 3-0 defeat of A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers at Lambert Park.
The Reds had gone off the boil in recent weeks with losses against Sutherland Sharks and Wollongong FC ? along with a draw against Macarthur Rams ? removing Ivan Petkovic?s side from a top-four spot they had held from the opening Round of the season.
The Reds re-claimed that top-four spot with Damon Collina, Luka Glavas and Ben Vidaic scoring in the 3-0 defeat of the Tigers.
The Tigers were never in the encounter, despite two good chances at 0-0, the final result more than deserved by the Reds who remain an outside chance for the title this season.
Wollongong FC?s phenomenal run continued with a more than impressive defeat of one of the competition?s most skilled sides.
Bankstown City had no answer for the fiery Wolves who netted three unanswered goals at John Crehan Park.
Despite Bankstown City?s large spells throughout the encounter ? where the team from Jensen Park dominated possession and created a number of chances ? the elusive goal would not arrive.
Osagie Ederaro?s opener, and a double to Matthew Bailey ? a goal in the dying minutes of each half ? secured Wollongong a strong-hold of third-spot.
-By Joseph Carlucci