Sydney: South Sydney stormed into National Rugby League title contention with a 40-24 hammering of long-time rivals Manly Sea Eagles as the finals got underway Friday.
The Rabbitohs dominated every facet of the qualifying final, powering to a 40-0 lead after 56 minutes before easing off for Manly to grab four late converted tries.
Inspired by scrum-half Adam Reynolds, the Rabbitohs were untouchable for most of the match and shredded the Sea Eagles defence.
Reynolds, back from suspension, scored two tries in a personal haul of 20 points as the Rabbitohs progressed to the third week of the finals and their third successive preliminary final.
Alex Johnston also got two tries.
Coach Michael Maguire was even seen tongue-lashing his players after tha match for letting the game slip in the last 15 minutes as he seeks higher standards from his side.
Manly will next meet the winner of Sunday`s elimination final between Melbourne and Canterbury but face a nervous few days with three key players placed on the referee`s report during the match.
Anthony Watmough and Jamie Lyon were cited for a dangerous throw, while Kieran Foran was noted for a high tackle.
South Sydney are chasing their first title since 1971.