Highlights from week two of the NRL finals

Manly's Tom Trbojevic was pivotal in their NRL semi-final win over the Sydney Roosters in Mackay.
Manly's Tom Trbojevic was pivotal in their NRL semi-final win over the Sydney Roosters in Mackay.


* Quote of the round: "We're in a prelim. That's where we're at. Against the reigning premiers, I mean, where else would you rather be?" - Penrith coach Ivan Cleary takes a positive outlook to his team's preliminary final showdown with Melbourne after beating Parramatta in arm-wrestle in Mackay on Saturday.

* Stat that matters: The past six times Manly and the Sydney Roosters have met in the finals, the winner has gone on to make the grand final. Is that a lucky omen for the Sea Eagles after they thrashed Trent Robinson's undermanned side on Friday?

* Magic moment: The regional town of Mackay in Queensland's north probably wasn't the setting Josh Morris expected to walk off an NRL pitch for the final time but there was a classy sign of respect with his Sydney Roosters teammates as well as Manly players forming a guard of honour as the veteran centre brought down the curtain on his 325-game career.

* Talking point: Parramatta coach Brad Arthur was in no doubt Penrith had deliberately tried to slow down the game in the dying minutes of Saturday's semi-final as the Eels pushed for a winning try. The intervention of a Penrith trainer that brought the match to a halt with Mitch Kenny down behind the play had the Eels coach fuming post-match and is sure to be keenly watched before Saturday's preliminary final between the Panthers and Melbourne.

* Man of the round: It took Manly superstar Tom Trbojevic six minutes to open the scoring in Friday's semi-final against the Sydney Roosters. In a game that had been billed as the battle of the No.1s, Trbojevic was a clear winner over opposite number James Tedesco. Trbojevic was given an early mark with 15 minutes to play in the 42-6 triumph but still ended the game with two tries, a try assist, three linebreaks and 171 running metres.

* Judiciary watch: Eels - Marata Niukore (high tackle).

* Under pressure: Parramatta's gutsy display against Penrith still ended with yet another second-week finals exit for the Eels, leaving Brad Arthur's future at the club uncertain. Parramatta haven't won back-to-back finals matches since 2009 and after eight seasons with Arthur at the helm the Eels board may decide the time has come to head in a different direction as they aim to finally end their premiership drought which dates back to 1986.

Australian Associated Press