By Adam Lucius
Manly are one step away from their first grand final appearance in 15 years after seeing off Parramatta 49-12 in Sunday's elimination semi-final at Manly Oval.
The Marlins raced to a 28-5 halftime lead and were never in any danger against a gallant but outclassed Two Blues outfit.
The win sets up a preliminary final showdown with Southern Districts at TG Millner next Saturday.
The winner will play either Sydney Uni or Northern Suburbs in the decider.
"We've put ourselves in with a shot," coach Tim Lane said after watching his side post seven tries against Parramatta.
"We know we've got to take a step or two up to beat Souths but this team is capable of doing that.
"They're a good side with good players in key positions but so are we."
Manly may have to do it without popular hooker Elvis Taione, who has been offered a French rugby contract and may have taken off by the time you read this.
"Good luck to Elvis. If he accepts the offer then he goes with our full blessing," Lane said.
"The timing's not great but you can't stand in the way of players when they're offered these types of opportunities.
"We've got a bit of depth in that position so I'm sure we'll be okay."
Long-serving Manly skipper Chris Cottee was relieved the Parramatta hurdle was jumped without incident.
He is now 80 minutes away from his first Shute Shield grand final - and the club's first since 1997.
"There were a few lapses but I feel we're back on track," he said.
"It was a big step in the right direction.
"It's a good feeling to be one win away from the grand final.
"Souths are a good side and we're going to have to be better than we've been to beat them."
Manly defeated the Rebels twice during the regular season but there was nothing between the sides on both occasions.
The Marlins got the cash 42-41 in a round three game of touch footy at Forshaw and held on for a 24-22 triumph back at Manly Oval in round 13.
In one of the biggest weekends in Manly's long history, all four grades will contest preliminary finals.
Fourth grade get things rolling against Sydney Uni (10.25am) before first grade take centre stage later that afternoon (3.10pm).
The following day we're back at TG Millner where the thirds meet Randwick (11.50am) and seconds tackle the Pirates (1.15pm).