In the same week they were elevated to NRL title favourites, Manly flexed some premiership muscle to leave Brisbane in danger of missing the finals for just the second time in 21 seasons after a 16-6 loss at Brookvale Oval.
The Sea Eagles produced a breathtaking 11-minute burst midway through the first half which produced their only points of the match – including two tries to Brett Stewart to take his tally to 66 tries from 69 appearances on home soil.
It was enough to consign the Broncos to a sixth straight loss – and if Wests Tigers beat Sydney Roosters on Sunday they will enter the final round outside the top eight.
But while the Broncos are heading south, the defending premiers continue to surge as they closed in further on an all-important top four finish.
The Broncos defence looked up for the fight when they twice cut down wrecking ball Tony Williams just short of the tryline early in the contest, but when the Manly machine clicked, they were helpless to stop it.
Stewart brothers Glenn and Brett combined with Brett bursting downfield before skipper Jamie Lyon slid out of a Peter Wallace tackle on the next play to open the scoring in the 17th minute.
Three minutes later it was 10-0 when a pin-point Kieran Foran kick into no-man’s land just in behind the defensive line was pounced upon by a flying Brett Stewart.
As if the Broncos weren’t already up against it, Daly Cherry-Evans then produced a 40-20 from which Lyon provided an inside ball for Stewart to go over again – and he could have had a first half hat-trick had Jorge Taufua not ignored him in support three minutes later.
After such a superb passage of play, it was surprise the Sea Eagles couldn’t add to their tally after the break, Brisbane’s Alex Glenn grabbing a consolation try on the bell to deny the home side a shut-out.