Beating up an injury-hit Gold Coast has not convinced Manly pivot Kieran Foran the Sea Eagles are worthy NRL finals contenders.
The Sea Eagles finally appear to be flying in 2015 after capping their third win in four games with a 38-6 romp on Monday night over the Titans.
All eyes were on how fellow Manly playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans would cope following last month’s Titans contract backflip controversy.
He left all smiles despite copping boos throughout Gold Coast’s worst home loss.
Now another $10 million question looms for Manly, according to Foran – can they cut it with the top sides and clinch a top eight berth?
Foran admits he is no closer to answering it despite the seven-tries-to-one rout.
He said Manly (13th; 6-10 record) were now showing what they were capable of after a spate of injuries.
However, they weren’t getting carried away with thrashing a Titans team missing nine regulars.
They will no doubt get a better idea on Monday night against Johnathan Thurston’s second-placed North Queensland.
“I don’t think our performance (against the Titans) would have been good enough to beat the better sides at the moment,” Foran said.
“We still turned over a fair bit of footy – the Titans were just twice as bad as what we were.
“We can’t get away with that against the quality sides coming up.
“We have to be better against the Cowboys. We have to go up another level.”
Manly have a tough road home with clashes against every current top five team – Brisbane, the Cowboys, the Sydney Roosters, the Warriors and defending champions South Sydney.
However, five of their final eight games are at home.
“It has been one of those years where we didn’t get off to the start we would have liked and then had some injuries but now we have been able to put the same team on the park.
“We are aware of the position we are in. If we keep winning, we give ourselves a finals chance.”
The boos rained down on Cherry-Evans on Monday night but Titans fans should have saved their jeers for man of the match Brett Stewart.
The Manly fullback cut the Titans to ribbons with one try, two try assists, eight tackle busts and two line breaks.
“In my opinion, he is the best ball-playing fullback in the game,” Foran said.
“If he can keep making those plays, that will give us every chance of making a charge for the finals.”