Michael Maguire likened it to "tackling practise", such was the avalanche of possession against them, but the Wests Tigers claimed a stunning 34-32 comeback win over Manly with a late surge at Lottoland.
Down 20-6 midway through the first half, the Tigers scored two tries in the final eight minutes to snatch victory on Saturday night.
A torn calf that ended Jorge Taufua's night after 31 minutes added to the pain of the Sea Eagles’ capitulation.
Tigers winger David Nofoaluma's hat-trick propelled him to 17 tries for the season - three clear of the next best on the leaderboard.
The visitors had only 42 per cent of the ball and were on the wrong end of an 8-1 penalty count but pulled ahead when centre Adam Doueihi got his double from a Luke Brooks kick in the 77th minute.
Match: Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers
Round 17 -
Venue: Lottoland, Sydney
"One thing I do know about this group, they have got the belief. It's just opportunities and putting themselves in the right space to get plays on ... their belief got them the win," coach Maguire said.
Even after a tough week, in which details of an honesty session were leaked and the club announced legend Benji Marshall wouldn't be re-signed, Maguire was confident the Tigers wouldn't be distracted.
As well as his tries, Doueihi's goal-kicking was decisive as he landed five of six attempts - one more than Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.
Doueihi double has Wests Tigers in the lead
The 22-year-old, who was moved into the front line with Moses Mbye wearing the No.1 jumper, said the Tigers are united.
"It just shows we're a resilient team and we're really playing for each other," Doueihi said of the win.
"We've been on the back of a few wrong scoreboards in the past few weeks. I'm just so happy for our coaching staff and our organisation and our playing group to come to Brookvale with a hostile crowd and come home with the win."
Doueihi said he doesn't have a preference between fullback and centre going forward: "It's not a big deal to me."
Manly's Cherry-Evans loomed as the hero as he set up his team's first three tries, while robust five-eighth Josh Schuster made an assured debut but went to the bench after 65 minutes due to severe cramps.
Morgan Harper marked his Sea Eagles debut with a fourth-minute try. The 22-year-old centre, who was released by Canterbury in July, proved too strong from close range after storming on to a Cherry-Evans short ball.
Schuster then threw a no-look pass to Cherry-Evans from a scrum and the skipper continued his hot start by sending Taufua over.
Quality lead up work from Schuster and DCE creates a try for Taufua
The Steeden-starved Tigers responded via Nofoaluma who dashed ahead to ground a Marshall grubber that initially seemed too heavy.
A wayward Josh Aloiai offload handed the ascendancy straight back to the Sea Eagles and they secured a 14-6 lead after Cherry-Evans placed a grubber for second-rower Jack Gosiewski to pounce.
The lack of ball crushed the Tigers, so it was no surprise when Sea Eagles fullback Tevita Funa beat some tired middle defence to score.
Marshall places it perfectly for Nofoaluma
Nofoaluma crossed in the shadows of half-time to keep the Tigers in the hunt. A bouncing Marshall pass was batted on by centre Joey Leilua, allowing his flanker time to cut inside.
And when Mbye sliced the defence open to score in the 53rd minute, momentum was somehow with the Tigers.
The Sea Eagles hit back as Martin Taupau beautifully tipped on for Jake Trbojevic to score before Harper grabbed his double to seemingly close out the match.
Nofoaluma cuts back inside for a his second
But Doueihi went in to give the Tigers a sniff, then Nofoaluma crossed for his third to create a thrilling finish. Doueihi's jumping catch capped off a famous comeback.
Maguire endorsed Nofoaluma for NSW Origin honours in November.
"He's great, Nof. His passion, his pride in what he does - I think everyone can see that in the way he plays," Maguire said.
"To see Dave develop his game, I'm really looking to see what may happen at the end of the year for him."
Nofoaluma hat-trick sets up enthralling finish