Centre Dylan Farrell's second hat-trick in just his ninth NRL rugby league game helped South Sydney seal a 32-30 victory over Manly in a thrilling clash at Gosford's Bluetongue Stadium on Friday night.
Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans had the chance to take the game into extra time with the last play of the match after William Hopoate darted his way over the line to stun the home supporters, but his kick drifted to the left of the posts to hand Souths the points.
The 19-year-old Farrell, who scored a treble on his debut against Wests Tigers last season, opened the scoring in the eighth minute following some great work from debutant Kane Morgan, who flicked the ball into his path following a Chris Sandow kick.
However Farrell was forced to leave the field midway through the second spell with a dislocated shoulder and Souths appeared to implode in his absence as Manly clawed their way back from the dead.
Anthony Watmough pulled a try back after Michael Robertson bravely flicked a high ball into his path nine minutes from time.
Michael Oldfield then narrowed the gap further with a searing run and finish on the right wing with Cherry-Evans adding the extras.
And with Souths hanging on for dear life, Hopoate scored his fourth try in as many games.