Penrith have sent an ominous warning to week-one finals opponents Canterbury with a first-half demolition of Manly in the final NRL game of the regular season.
Panthers skipper Matt Moylan whipped their season-high 15,411 crowd at Pepper Stadium into a frenzy by having a hand in four of the tries in the 36-6 rout.
Winger Josh Mansour nabbed a double, while rookie Nathan Cleary kicked a perfect six from six.
The Panthers win, their fifth in succession and seventh in eight games, sets up an intriguing elimination final against at out-of-form Bulldogs outfit at ANZ Stadium next Sunday.
For the Sea Eagles, their fifth straight loss leaves them with a 13th-placed finish and plenty of thinking to do for first-year coach Trent Barrett.
Working out the futures of injured veterans Brett Stewart and Steve Matai will be top of the pile.
Moylan was unstoppable from the kickoff, setting up Mansour’s first in the fourth minute before igniting a six-minute avalanche of points by putting Bryce Cartwright over the line in the 21st.
The home side then went 100 metres in the next set, Moylan sending Waqa Blake into the clear for Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to finish off, and then also getting Peter Wallace under the posts three minutes later.
At one stage, only some friendly fire from a prone Trent Merrin could stop the incumbent NSW Origin pivot, who finished the game with three try and four line break assists.
By the time rookie Nathan Cleary converted another Mansour try on the stroke of halftime, the Panthers left the field to a standing ovation and a 30-0 lead.
Blake added a sixth try just minutes into the restart before the home side slowed down, with Wallace awarded his first rest of the season and Jake Trbojevic levelling the second half at six-all.