Manly superstar Tom Trbojevic has starred in the Sea Eagles' 34-14 NRL demolition of St George Illawarra to seal his return to the NSW State of Origin side.
Des Hasler's side scored 34 unanswered points on Sunday to inflict further pain on the Dragons. They have lost six of their past seven games to leave them stagnating heading into the representative-round break.
The Dragons dominated early possession to open up an 8-0 lead but, when Jack Gosiewski burrowed over seven minutes after halftime, the home side led 16-8.
No.1 Trbojevic imposed himself on the game at Lottoland, erasing any concerns about his troublesome hamstring which had kept him out for most of the year.
First, he pierced through the Dragons' line and Cade Cust crossed from the next play.
Five minutes later, he caught out some lazy defence around the ruck to send Mainese Fainu over.
Then he did it all himself, cleaning up a Corey Norman grubber and running 70 metres to cap a memorable performance.
In what was just just second game back from injury, he finished with 333 metres, one try assist, two line breaks, two line-break assists, 11 tackle busts and five offloads to announce he was back to his best.
He looks certain to be named in the NSW side for Origin two as a replacement for injured winger Nick Cotric.
The result leaves the Dragons in a big hole - they snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over last-placed Canterbury last week but took a step backwards on Sunday.
The likes of Ben Hunt, Korbin Sims and Paul Vaughan looked inspired early as the Dragons completed 14 of 14 sets in the opening 20 minutes.
They led 8-0 lead after Hunt went over the top of Jake Trbojevic but they ran out of steam.
Both sides lost their dummy-halves within two minutes of each other with Dragons No.9 Cameron McInnes failing a head injury assessment and Manly's Api Koroisau leaving the field with an ankle injury.
It seemingly turned the tide and Reuben Garrick and Dylan Walker scored off kicks, as the home side carried a 10-8 lead into halftime before going on with it after the break.
Australian Associated Press