Phil Gould SMH Well, it was entertaining. If you like plenty of ball movement and watching lots of tries being scored, then Sunday footy at Brookvale Oval was the match for you. Manly scored eight tries to four in their 38-20 victory over the Gold Coast. The final scoreline gives the impression it was something of a thrashing. It kinda was and it kinda wasn't. It would be unfair to the Titans to say the match was one-sided. They showed plenty of pluck to fight their way back from a 20-4 deficit, to trail by only eight points with 15 minutes left on the clock. They definitely had Manly's attention at this stage of the contest. Advertisement Adding more merit to this spirited surge was the fact they were down to 12 men, courtesy of a sin-binning during this challenging period. They deserve some kudos. However, never at any stage of the contest did I feel as though the home side was in danger of losing. Manly seemingly had the game in their keeping once. They then had to rally late to win it a second time over the concluding stages but they did so very professionally. The Sea Eagles blitzed their rivals in the first 38 minutes with five beautifully worked tries. They tested the Titans to the left and the right, with playmakers Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran aiming Manly's attack at the edges of the field at some very indecisive Titans defenders. Every time the Sea Eagles moved the ball out wide, the Titans were guilty of backing away from the play, allowing too much time and space for their opponents. The incredible part was that the Titans' defenders were still back-pedalling when on their own try line, so Manly only had to run hard and fall over to score on a couple of occasions. They will run second more often than not if they keep defending in this manner. I'm sure this point won't be lost on the Titans' coaching staff during match review. Great football club, Manly. They are tough, resourceful and skillful. More importantly, though, this club and this team always seem to have an air of confidence about them. They have little regard for the reputations of others. They believe in themselves. They expect to win. They have the ability to back it up. These are great qualities to have in any side. I know South Sydney and Sydney Roosters are high flying at the moment and Melbourne are always hard to beat. But, when the finals come around again this year, the Sea Eagles will be thinking they can win the premiership. That's half the battle. Cherry-Evans and Foran are so impressive and now so very experienced in big-match football. Despite introducing a few new faces to the line-up at stages this season, Manly still maintain this core group of senior footballers who know nothing less than playing tough and winning. Brent Kite is a warrior. Matt Ballin is a workhorse. Anthony Watmough is playing outstanding football this season. His footwork and energy really do trouble any opponents. Steve Matai is tough and uncompromising. He is famous for his bruising defence but, on Sunday, treated us to a brilliant individual try with a deft little grubber kick and regather. The Stewart brothers are simply outstanding. Glenn is the best playmaking forward in the game. Rugby league needs more players like him. Brett is a marvel. He complements the skills of every other player in the team. He knows all their strengths and supports the play in exactly the right place at the right time. Jamie Lyon is a wonderful leader and his combination with the Stewarts and his loyal wingman, David Williams, gives Manly the best right-side attack in the NRL. They are quite brilliant. You take this core group of on-field leaders, surround them with talented youngsters and willing tradesmen and you have yourselves a genuine premiership contender. The Titans are a mixture of the brilliant and the ridiculous. They can produce some amazing passages of play. In the next instance, they can bewilder you with the most ridiculous of errors. Through their errant ways and ill-discipline, they were their own worst enemy on Sunday. Manly's great play just compounded their misery. The Titans don't look top-eight material at the moment. Manly? Only a fool would count them out of winning the main prize.