IF the short turnarounds are hurting Manly they certainly didn’t show it against a mistake-riddled Warriors outfit at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night.
Led by a double from centre Steve Matai, the Sea Eagles delivered their strongest performance of the season to charge to an emphatic 16-point victory.
Matai turned back the clock with a masterclass to help his side continue their recent domination over the men from New Zealand.
The Sea Eagles have now won 10 of their past 11 clashes against the Warriors.
Matai was well supported by skipper Jamie Lyon and halfback Api Koroisau, who shone just days after his man-of-the match performance against South Sydney.
Prop Josh Starling also deserves special praise for scoring his first NRL try after four years of trying.
Starling’s determined effort to barge over from close-range after 23 minutes typified the Sea Eagles’ desire in a dominant display.
The only negative for Manly was five-eighth Dylan Walker being placed on report for an attempted trip on winger Tuimoala Lolohea, but it wasn’t enough to dampen the positive mood of coach Trent Barrett.
“I thought we showed a lot of intent in everything we did and our aim was to start well,” Barrett said.
“We had a big job to do against a side that had won two in a row with some pretty dangerous players, but to a man we didn’t have a bad player.
“I thought Api and Dylan were good again the halves and our senior players led the way early on.
“I’m really happy for them.”
Manly may have been slick, but the same praise can’t be given to the hapless Warriors.
Andrew McFadden’s men went to the half-time break trailing by just six points, but they were blown off the park in the second half as the Sea Eagles raced in a further tries.
McFadden was disappointed with his team’s discipline, admitting they only have themselves to blame for the loss.
“We gave up 30-plus points at our home and it wasn’t good enough,” McFadden said.
“The opposition were excellent and I thought they came out with lots of energy and we got into a bit of a battle.
“But they probably had a bit too much scoreboard pressure for us and we forced our hand and didn’t keep our game tight.”
Manly face another short turnaround on Thursday night when they take on the inform Parramatta Eels at Brookvale Oval.
MANLY 34 (S Matai 2 J Starling M Taupau T Trbojevic tries J Lyon 7 goals) bt NZ WARRIORS 18 (B Ayshford S Kata I Luke tries S Johnson 3 goals) at Mt Smart Stadium. Referee: Gavin Reynolds, Chris Sutton. Crowd: 16,112.