AFTER being branded powder-puffs, Manly last night tore apart a hapless Cronulla Sharks to get the season back on track.
Upended ... Sharks winger Luke Covell. Source: Getty Images
The Sea Eagles led 36-0 at halftime, with Test forward Anthony Watmough grabbing three tries.
But to put it bluntly, the Sharks were woeful in one of the most embarrassing first-half performances seen by any team this season.
The besieged Sharks salvaged some pride after the break by outscoring the Sea Eagles three tries to two.
Manly's huge win elevated them back into the top eight.
Sitting outside the eight after two wins from the last six weeks, Manly had a great opportunity to salvage their season against the Sharks.
Little did they know that there would be a smorgasbord of points on offer.
Capitalising on a string of schoolboy errors by the home side, the Sea Eagles piled on 20 points in as many minutes, with second-rower Anthony Watmough and winger Tony Williams each bagging an early double.
Williams got the ball rolling in the seventh minute when he chased down a Glenn Stewart grubber kick.
It was 10-0 after 10 minutes when Watmough charged down a John Morris clearing kick and raced 35 metres untouched to score.
Cronulla only had themselves to blame from the re-start, when Tim Smith's kick-off went out on the full.
A simple change of angle a few tackles later allowed Watmough to slip past the Sharks defence to make it 16-0.
Targetting the Sharks' left edge defence, the Sea Eagles took it to 20-0 when Jamie Lyon found space out wide to put Williams away.
Watmough had his hat-trick on 29 minutes. After trailing a Lyon kick and regather, the back-rower travelled all of five metres to plant the football down.
Cronulla fans were left shaking their heads in embarrassment in the 33rd minute when Manly winger Michael Robertson joined the scorers' list to make it 30-0.
And they weren't finished.
With two minutes left to go in the first half, a scrum based move down the Sharks' short side saw Kieran Foran cross for the Sea Eagles' seventh try of the match and a 36-0 lead.
Manly had amazingly already posted their highest score at Toyota Stadium.
The Sharks at least found some pride after the break. Crafty work from Paul Aiton unleashed fullback Nathan Gardner for a 35-metre sprint to the try line.
Paul Gallen then scooped up an attacking Tim Smith kick to make it 36-12 in the 47th minute.
Manly relaxed during the second half, conceding penalties and making unforced errors.
But with victory guaranteed, Manly could have been excused for thinking about next week's clash with the high-flying Wests Tigers.