By Adam Lucius
It took a while to get going but the real Manly eventually stood up to overcame a sloppy first half and run out comfortable 34-10 victors over West Harbour at Concord Oval on Saturday.
The win keeps Tim Lane's men in second spot with five rounds remaining.
The Marlins looked off the pace early, suggesting Wednesday night's win over Easts may have taken more out of them than we thought.
A Tevita Metuisela try off the back of the scrum helped them hold the Pirates to a 10-all scoreline at the break, but it was far from convincing stuff.
Lane implored his team to show more patience with the ball, predicting the big Wests pack would wilt in the warmish conditions late in the game.
He was right.
It was a different Manly after the break.
Second half tries to Neil Meyer, who had a terrific match, Dylan Sigg, JP du Plessis and Jacob Woodhouse saw the travelling side clear out to what was a very convincing win in the end.
Apart from Meyer, prop Dane Maraki and Michael Hooper handed in strong contributions while prop Andrew Collins continues to make a good first of life in the Shute Shield.
There wasn't a bad player in the backline.
Centres Ben Seymour and Andrew Smith complement each other superbly, while Du Plessis and Woodhouse were a danger with every touch.
"We wanted to come away with a bonus point win but they just don't roll over and let you take it out here," Lane said.
"You've got to work hard to get there but I always thought we always had their measure.
"We had to be more precise and composed in the second half and we managed to do that."
Smith had arguably his best game in a Manly jersey.
With the return of Brian Sefanaia and Robbie Coleman just around the corner, Smith acknowledges the heat will be on those out wide to stay consistent.
"There are a lot of good players out there and a few good ones to come back," he noted.
"It's a very talented side and the depth is good. There is always competition so if you're off your game you could find yourself on the bench.
"We've definitely got the players to do something this year but it's just a matter of working on the combinations.
"If we can do that and get everything working for 80 minutes, we'll be a strong contender."
Manly host last-placed Penrith at the Village Green next Saturday