Maybe Des Hasler has been right all along his Bulldogs are just a bunch of overachieving battlers still learning the ropes and Manly are the benchmark side in the NRL.
While Hasler's Bulldogs were getting pumped 34-6 by Canberra on Friday night, their first loss in 13 games, his old side issued another serious statement with a 16-6 victory over Brisbane.
Despite their loss the 'Dogs are still in the box seat to clinch the minor premiership, but Manly's fifth win on the trot makes them undeniable premiership favourites.
The Bulldogs have Ben Barba and South Sydney have Greg Inglis, but no other side in the comp has an attack as balanced as the Sea Eagles.
If it's not Daly Cherry-Evans flinging the ball out to the right edge for Jamie Lyon to dance his way to the tryline, it's Kieran Foran taking the ball to the line and hitting full-back Brett Stewart on the chest out on the left.
Manly can shred any defence - anywhere, anytime.
They scored three tries in 10 minutes in an ominous burst in Friday's clinical win over Brisbane.
The Sea Eagles moved to third with their latest victory and could be assured a top-four spot by Saturday night if Newcastle can beat North Queensland in Townsville.
If not they'll need to beat Gold Coast next Saturday night to guarantee themselves a second chance under the new NRL finals system.
Put simply, Manly have the best roster, they've been there and done that and they're in the best form of any team in the comp.
Anything can happen in rugby league, but after an injury-riddled start to the campaign, the stars appear to be aligning for the reigning premiers once again.
Things are getting interesting at the other end of the eight as well.
The Broncos are now a very real chance of missing the finals for just the second time in 21 years having slumped to their sixth straight loss.
Canberra have leapfrogged them into seventh spot while the Tigers can jump back into the eight with a win over the Roosters on Sunday.
Gold Coast and Newcastle cold both join Brisbane on 26 points with a win this weekend, however the Broncos have a superior for-and-against over both the Titans and Knights.Strap yourselves in, things are about to get interesting.
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