They may have won the game, but that did little to dampen the irate mood that Manly coach Geoff Toovey was in â€“ with the coach intent on seeing only experienced refs in the finals.
Toovey was particularly irate about a tackle by Titans back-rower Greg Bird on Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans that he thought was high, yet it garnered no penalty, nor was it put on report.
“I’m just amazed at some of the things that go on,” Toovey said.
“A young half (Cherry-Evans) was dumped on his head in a dangerous position and nothing happens.
“I just don’t understand – I’m dumbfounded. Did anyone see it differently to me? Obviously the video ref saw it differently.”
Toovey believes that the referees in NRL games have to be the most experienced and nothing less, particularly when there is so much at stake for the teams involved.
“I hope they get the best officials going forward to the semi-finals,” he said.
“If they have to get the same four or five, including the bloke in the video box, then they have to do that.”
For Titans coach John Cartwright, he put it simply â€“ the favouritism for Manly to win the competition, is more than justified.
“I think they’re the best side on paper and they’re finding form at the right end of the year,” he said.
“They’ve got everything covered. They’ve got size, great halves, the fullback (Brett Stewart) is coming to hand really well and their back-row is really strong.”
It was the unsung half for Manly that came through, with the quieter Kieran Foran the spark for the club â€“ with halves partner Cherry-Evans acknowledging Foranâ€™s effort in the win.
“It definitely made my job a lot easier tonight, the way he took control,” Cherry-Evans said.
“He was the spark tonight.”
It was not all smooth sailing for Manly, though, as the Titans mounted a semi-late comeback that was not enough â€“ but Toovey believes that his side is in good stead, but admits that there is work to do, and things to improve on.
“It’s not a concern at all,” Toovey said.
â€œOur boys are experienced and they lift when necessary. That’s what we’ve done over the last month.
“I think there are plenty of areas where we can improve.”