The Wolfman wasn't easily forgotten with the full moon overhead, but Manly's stars on the park know the easiest way to deflect the unwanted glow. Just a day after out-of-favour winger David Williams was rubbed out for the rest of the year as the betting scandal climaxed, the premiership favourites again caused tremors with bookmakers.
This time? It's for all the right reasons. The ladder leaders might be a whole lot shorter in premiership betting on Saturday morning after flexing their considerable muscle at Brookvale Oval on Friday night.
The 40-8 mauling of the Tigers, vaulting the Sea Eagles to the outright competition lead for 24 hours at least, showed why Geoff Toovey's men are tipped to go one better than the grand final heartbreak of last year.
And that was even without the suspended Anthony Watmough and injured Glenn Stewart, whose returns are on the horizon.
There was no shortage of reminders, too, why Williams has barely had a look in this year. Peta Hiku bagged a double, Clinton Gutherson toyed with the Tigers on the other flank before limping off and the Manly machine which always purrs at this time of year ran at full throttle in the first stanza.
They don't hand out title rings for seven-tries-to-two beltings in mid-July, but they certainly help with a less hazardous path to the first Sunday in October. The Bulldogs and Panthers can re-join the NRL's yardstick on 26 points with victory over the Storm and Broncos respectively to end round 19.
The Tigers? Their finals fortunes are looking grimmer by the day. They've lost four of their last six, mired on 20 points and in desperate need of an imminent form reversal to feature in September.
If not for a bewildering Shayne Hayne call before most of the maroon faithful had settled into their seats, the Tigers could have reasonably expected the match to start on a different tangent.
David Nofoaluma stretched out to score in just the second minute, but was ruled to have lost control of the ball. Shayne Hayne opted not to go to the video referee before replays suggested the ball may have ever so slightly kissed the chalk while well under his grasp.
Even one-eyed Eagle fan and Prime Minister Tony Abbott might have conceded the joint venture should have racked up first points, swapping his No 1 ticket in Canberra for the No 1 season ticket at Brookvale and a front row seat to one Queenslander he appreciates.
Daly Cherry-Evans thumbed his nose at a lingering knee problem after Origin, no doubt pleasing Abbott, rather than Clive Palmer's disdain for the carbon tax repeal bill which has so bewildered Australia's top dog. And Cherry-Evans never skipped a beat in the first 40 minutes as the Sea Eagles' cavalcade of stars, led by Kieran Foran, kick started the Manly procession.
Cherry-Evans' Origin foe Robbie Farah, on the flip side, was subjected to a mid-week hangover he would rather forget.
He first lost an early battle with Hayne over Nofoaluma's controversial no-try and then was placed on report for triggering a meek lifting tackle on Josh Starling. Manly's Justin Horo will also face a nervous wait after being sanctioned for a crusher tackle on Mitchell Moses.
Around the two flash points the Sea Eagles ran riot, both in points and penalty counts. Hiku bagged a double within the first 10 minutes, only to be matched by Cherry-Evans' sidekick Foran before the half had ended.
In truth, the Sea Eagles barely got out of second gear after the break, but still had enough in reserve to coast home with the exclamation mark a three-kick try which wouldn't have been out of place in Brazil. Foran kicked for Brett Stewart who put it on the ground for Cherry-Evans to poke through and score.
The Tigers added some respectability to the scoreboard through Keith Lulia and Nofoaluma, but were never in the hunt.
- MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES 40 (Peta Hiku 2, Kieran Foran 2, Clinton Gutherson, Brett Stewart, Daly Cherry-Evans tries; Jamie Lyon 6 goals)
- WESTS TIGERS 8 (Keith Lulia, David Nofoaluma tries) at Brookvale Oval. Referee: Shayne Hayne, Alan Shortall. Crowd: 13,43
The story NRL Round 18 Manly Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers | PHOTOS first appeared on Fairfax Regional Pages.