The Sea Eagles have finally proved they are not just a one-man team by thrashing the Cowboys 50-18 at Brookvale in a perfect tribute game for Manly great Bob Fulton.
With Des Hasler choosing to rest Tom Trbojevic after a terrific Origin opener, the pressure was on for the side not to fall back into old ways.
Manly’s form without their superstar is well documented – and it looked as though the Sea Eagles were back to their early-season habits when the Cowboys led 12-0 after 10 minutes.
But Manly were able to soon bounce back to the delight of the 6801 fans who had braved the cold to watch their Turbo-less side at Brookvale Oval.
The early scare came from Murray Taulagi, who scored just two minutes into the game thanks to a well-placed chip kick from Scott Drinkwater. The effort was backed up with a seventh-minute try from centre Javid Bowen.
But Manly were quick to reply, with Brad Parker and Haumole Olakau’atu both going over before the clock had even hit the 20-minute mark.
Just two behind at 10-12, Manly decided they were ready to take the reins.
Three tries, to Karl Lawton, Lachlan Croker and Olakau’atu, in just four minutes before half-time gave Manly a 28-12 lead at the break.
In the second half, the old combination between Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran proved to still be golden with Foran collecting a rebound off a grubber from the Manly captain.
Fill-in fullback Reuben Garrick then got his name on the scoresheet, making his way through three men before running the length of the field to score. Garrick was also successful with seven from nine conversions.
Dylan Walker decided it was his turn, going over in the 66th minute before Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow snuck one back for the Cowboys six minutes later.
Brad Parker finished the game in the style with a somersault in the corner with just two minutes to go to put 50 points on the Cowboys.
Manly fans were also treated to more of Ben Trbojevic, who received a roar from the crowd as he went on for his second NRL game.
But his time on the field was just as underwhelming as his debut, playing just six minutes in the first half and just five in the second with limited impact.
The win was a perfect way to pay tribute to Fulton, with jersey #175 displayed over a chair on the Sea Eagles team bench and fans participating in a standing ovation at the 175th second.
In news that will concern Queensland, Valentine Holmes could be facing suspension over a shoulder charge in the first half.
Holmes was placed on report by the bunker after replays showed the star fullback appearing to shoulder charge Olakau’atu in his second try attempt.
Manly will also be awaiting the result on Morgan Harper, who was placed on report for a tripping charge in the first half.