Manly march on as Penrith cling to Finals berth
Manly Sea Eagles clinched their place in the NRL Finals with a thumping 28-12 win over Penrith Panthers, who are also assured of their place in the next phase of the competition.
The winner of this clash was guaranteed progression and Manly quickly set about dismantling their opponents at Lottoland - Brian Kelly went over in the corner before teeing up Daly Cherry-Evans for the Sea Eagles' second.
Jake Trbojevic crashed over under the posts as the hosts moved into a 16-0 half-time lead and brother Tom extended the advantage early in the second half.
The Panthers needed to avoid losing by more than 38 points to be sure of their place in the Finals, so Curtis Sironen's touchdown - converted by Matthew Wright to make it 28-0 with 25 minutes still to play - will really have set nerves jangling.
However, late tries from Tyrone May and Reagan Campbell-Gillard lifted that tension and secured the Panthers a place in the Finals.
Minor premiers Melbourne Storm warmed up for their qualifying final against Parramatta Eels with a classy 32-6 victory over the already-eliminated Canberra Raiders.
In the day's remaining match, Sydney Roosters were 20-16 victors over Gold Coast Titans.
Victory for the Roosters secured second spot in the standings and home advantage against Brisbane Broncos in the Finals.