Trbojevic brothers fire as Manly beat Penrith
Manly have piled on five tries in a comprehensive 28-12 victory over the Penrith Panthers at Lottoland, with both clubs officially booking their place in the 2017 Telstra Premiership finals.
The Sea Eagles came into the contest needing a victory to secure their place in the top eight, while Anthony Griffin's men could afford a loss by no more than 38 points.
Penrith fans could be forgiven for having a panic attack with a quarter of the game remaining as the Sea Eagles dominated the opening 60 minutes to lead 28-0.
The visitors were physically man-handled by Trent Barrett's side in front of a packed crowd at Brookvale with the Trbojevic brothers Tom and Jake putting on a dominating display.
Manly farewelled club legends Brett Stewart and Matt Ballin before the clash and Stewart's successor in Tom Trbojevic came out firing early to send Brian Kelly into space on the left-edge for the opening four-pointer.
Manly's intensity lifted on the back of early points with Panthers front-rower Reagan Campbell-Gillard heavily targeted after a strong season up front.
An error from Campbell-Gillard put the visitors under pressure, while returning outside back Dean Whare had a nervous moment when he fumbled a ball close to the line.
Sea Eagles skipper Daly Cherry-Evans thought he sent Dylan Walker over in the 18th minute but had the play called back for a dubious forward pass.
Penrith's defence was broken down the left-edge once more though shortly after with Kelly cutting inside Blake to send Cherry-Evans over for a 10-0 lead.
The Sea Eagles' hot start to the clash came undone when Akuila Uate spilt a Nathan Cleary bomb to give the visitors some territory.
A sloppy pass from Peter Wallace at dummy-half threw away a chance to respond for the Panthers though, and Blake Green immediately turned defence into attack with a pin-point 40/20 leading to the Sea Eagles' third try of the evening.
Lloyd Perrett provided the late offload for Jake Trbojevic to brush aside Whare and Isaah Yeo to get the ball down under the posts for a 16-0 advantage at the break.
Panthers coach Anthony Griffin wouldn't have moved back to the coaches box in time to see Manly's score extend a minute into the second half.
A line break to Tom Trbojevic was finished off by the man himself the following play as Kelly went down the blindside before turning the ball back inside to Trbojevic to get over the line.
Manly got their fifth through brute strength with Curtis Sironen charging over Panthers veteran Peter Wallace to race 20 metres and stretch the lead out to 28-0 with 27 minutes left on the clock.
The Panthers needed to lift with their season hanging in a balance and used their final quarter defensive skills to hold the home side out and set up two late tries to kill off any chance of a 38-point margin.
Nathan Cleary linked up with five-eighth Tyrone May to get the visitors on the board and kill off any chance of missing the finals, before Campbell-Gillard finished off a backline movement.
The result will now see North Queensland knocked out of the finals race should St George Illawarra beat Canterbury on Sunday.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 28 (Kelly, Cherry-Evans, J Trbojevic, T Trbojevic, Sironen tries; Wright 4 goals) defeated Penrith Panthers 12 (May, Campbell-Gillard tries; Cleary 2 goals) at Lottoland. Crowd: 14,423.
NRL.com's unofficial votes: 3 points: Tom Trbojevic. 2 points: Jake Trbojevic. 1 point: Brian Kelly.