Manly, who have now won 5 of their last 6 games, have jumped to third on the ladder, after their 16-12 victory over the Titans, their first win at Skilled Park since 2008.
Despite the win however, Manly coach Des Hasler still seems plenty of room for improvement for his side.
“It shows there is a lot of confidence in the side but we know we can play a lot better,” he said.
“Because ultimately you have to play that grinding football in finals – that is what we are trying to teach ourselves.
“We are just coasting along at the moment.”
He was named in the NSW side 24 hours beforehand, but Jason King was then ruled out of the Manly game with a rib injury, to ensure he was fully fit for the Origin game.
“Kingy was never going to play tonight – in a week and a half he should be fine (for Origin duty),” Hasler said.
The match went down to the wire, as Esi Tonga scored in the corner for the Titans, with the 12,360 fans at the stadium on their feet when he went over.
There was a chance for the Titans to put pressure on the Sea Eagles one last time, but Prince’s cross-field kick was not executed properly, and the game was lost.
“That’s probably the best I have seen the Titans play this year,” Hasler said.
“They played like a team thinking their season may depend on getting a win.”
Despite the loss, the Titans showed a ton of spirit, and have not quite had luck on their side over the past few weeks, but this one was deemed as a “must-win” game.
“You can handle losing games when that sort of effort goes in – it’s just the consistency of our effort which hasn’t been there this year,” Cartwright said.
“We are hurting where we are on the ladder.
“But that (effort against Manly) has to be the minimum we accept from here to the end.
“In no way am I conceding that the season is over.”
Dally M Points
3 Michael Robertson
2 Kieran Foran
1 Luke Bailey