Manly have no right to beat the Bulldogs on Thursday night and keep their faint finals hopes alive.
They don’t deserve to be in the finals, full stop, actually.
Mathematically, if the Sea Eagles win their final four games starting tonight, they can feature in September.
Manly started season 2016 full of optimism after a recruitment drive that saw the signings of Dylan Walker, Martin Taupau, Nate Myles, and the re-signing of Daly Cherry-Evans.
They were touted by those in the know as genuine top-four finishers but have fallen way short of the mark.
Cherry-Evans has been ordinary for most of the year.
Okay, he did miss a month of football through injury and it can be hard to build combinations with a new halves partner (Dylan Walker), but his sideways play and sporadic kicking game have his value way short of the supposed $1.2 million he’s on a year.
Myles has failed to fire too.
A seven-game losing run through the season all but ruled out any hope of Manly playing finals football but a four-game winning streak had some thinking they could make a late charge.
Then they lost 10-9 last Friday to an Eels outfit with nothing to play for after they had 12 points stripped for salary cap infringements.
The Sea Eagles were woeful with ball in hand last round and lacked the energy and urgency to compete at the top level, let alone in the semi-finals.
They have shown good glimpses on the back of the inspiring form of brothers Jake and Tom Trbojevic who have given supporters a reason to be optimistic about the future.
But not this year.
It will not happen and the Bulldogs will make sure of that tonight with an emphatic victory.
And here is why.
The Bulldogs have won their past five matches against the Sea Eagles and eight of their last 10 encounters.
Manly have not beaten Canterbury in more than two years.
The Northern Beaches club’s away form has been woeful having lost six of their past seven fixtures as visitors.
The best thing to come out of a Manly win would be for club legend Jamie Lyon.
The 34-year-old will retire at seasons end after ten years of service which includes two premierships and four grand final appearances.
If only Lyon’s teammates had played with the desire he does every week, the cards may have fallen differently for the champion back in his last season at the top.