Brisbane eased the pressure on coach Anthony Griffin with a commanding 36-10 NRL win over Manly on Sunday to assert their finals credentials.
Griffin is off-contract at Red Hill at the end of next season but is under increasing pressure due to Brisbane's inconsistent efforts this season, after the club's worst ever year in 2014, and the possible availability of Wayne Bennett in 2015.
In the most impressive effort of round 12 and Brisbane's best return of 2014 thus far, the Broncos swept aside the Sea Eagles in emphatic fashion scoring seven tries to two to charge into fifth spot on the ladder.
Manly were without chief playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans due to a knee injury but the super tough Sea Eagles had consistently found ways to win this year without their star players.
After the win Griffin lauded the development of his side, in a week in which the club was rocked by salary cap issues.
"That was our best 80-minute performance of the year," he said.
"We only have an internal focus at the moment and we just need to keep working hard. We are learning how to build pressure and there is more toughness about us in our play."
Manly's loss sees them slip to third spot on the ladder behind Penrith on percentages, two points behind outright leaders Canterbury, who are on 18 points.
The Dogs had the bye this weekend along with Cronulla, Gold Coast and the seventh-placed Tigers.
Penrith reaffirmed their own finals claims on Friday night at home as they made light work of sixth-placed Parramatta (who were without Jarryd Hayne) 38-12; Tyrone Peachey earned man-of-the-match honours with two tries.
Premiers Sydney Roosters are fourth after they secured their fifth win from six matches in their clinical 26-12 disposal of Canberra at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
Axed NSW pivot James Maloney starred for the Tricolours alongside NSW winger Daniel Tupou, who scored three tries.
Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston piloted North Queensland to a 22-0 win over Melbourne in Townsville.
Maroons and Storm skipper Cameron Smith made 53 tackles in a side missing Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater. Melbourne slipped to eighth spot after the loss. - AAP