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Coach Des Hasler has hailed the Daly Cherry-Evans master class that helped Manly to a comfortable disposal of Wests Tigers that helps them maintain their finals momentum.

The Sea Eagles cemented their place in the eight with a 44-24 win in the opening leg of the Suncorp Stadium double-header on Saturday night, with the master playmaker piling up the stats in a dazzling all-round display.

"I thought Cherry was outstanding tonight," Hasler said. "It was a great captain's knock.

"He was really involved, he got us going and (Morgan) Harper outside him scored a hat-trick and Tommy (Trbojevic) was always dangerous, certainly put us in good field position."

Cherry-Evans' efforts - which included 184 run metres, two try assists and eight tackle breaks as well as two tries of his own - topped a long list of outstanding performances.

The Maroons playmaker and Trbojevic returned to the Sea Eagles line-up after a post-Origin sabbatical, while Jake Trbojevic was back from injury, leaving Manly as raging favourites heading into the match.

But the Tigers held them well in the opening term, pushing to a 12-10 lead when Adam Doueihi scored midway through the half.

But with Cherry-Evans pulling the strings expertly, the Sea Eagles scored 22 unanswered points in just 15 minutes either side of the break to put the result seemingly beyond doubt.

DCE feeds a hard-running Harper for his hat-trick

"We were probably a little bit down, a bit poor defensively, but they're areas we can identify and readily fix and when in possession we were a bit clunky with errors but they're certainly things that are fixable," Hasler said.

"It wasn't our best performance but if you can win ugly, it's okay."

Managing his key players through the Origin period was "critical" Hasler said, if the Sea Eagles were to make an impact in the back end of the season.

Tom Trbojevic was close to unstoppable in his return, running for 327 metres and having eight tackle breaks as well as scoring a try and creating havoc for the Tigers defenders.

Cherry-Evans said he had been extremely nervous watching on from the sidelines last week when the Sea  Eagles took on the Dragons but realised taking a break was ultimately in the best interests of himself and Manly.

"It's so much harder to watch than actually be out there," he said.

"I just wanted to come back and add some energy to the side, we trained well this week and it was nice to see some rewards for that.

"It was one of the harder decisions I've come to with Des, sitting out, I've prided myself always on backing up and being that person the boys can rely on but it was one time I probably had to put myself first and I think we'll see the benefit of it through the back end of the year."

It's certainly what Hasler is hoping.

There is something special about Josh Schuster

"They had a rest last week and we had a couple coming back from injury as well in Josh Aloiai and Jake (Trbojevic), so everybody got through unscathed," Hasler said.

But Aloiai is likely to have a case to answer after being placed on report for a dangerous tackle on Alex Seyfarth, who limped off the field with an MCL injury to his knee half an hour into the match.

Having already lost second-rower Luke Garner to an ankle injury after 15th minutes, Seyfarth's injury took the wind out of the Tigers' sails, with the Sea Eagles running in two tries in the two minutes just before the break to take a 20-12 lead.

Liddle takes matters into his own hands

The Tigers started the round two wins outside the eight but the loss leaves them running out of time to make a play for a finals spot.

Doueihi did his chances of a long-term stay at No.6 no harm, controlling play well in the first half as the Tigers gave Manly a run for their money and making several scrambling tackles as the Sea Eagles counter-attacked.

But his influence waned in the second half as the Tigers struggled to control their rivals.

The Sea Eagles got on the board early after a lazy slide from the Wests Tigers allowed Harper to waltz over in the fifth minute.

But in a see-sawing first half, the Tigers hit back and took an unlikely 12-10 lead late in the term after Doueihi scored and converted his own try.

It would not last though, with the Tigers racking up a 12th loss to stay trapped in a logjam below the eight, while the Sea Eagles (11-7) move to 24 points in clear sixth place.

Manly lost Dylan Walker (head knock) late in the contest.

Press Conference: Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers - Round 19, 2021

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