All the doubters who reckoned Manly would tire after two gruelling finals and fade against a fresher Souths in Friday's NRL preliminary were proven horribly wrong.
The sceptics probably felt vindicated when the Rabbitohs scampered to a 14-0 lead in as many minutes.
A first premiership in 42 long years seemed with reach, but the trouble was noone told Manly., who refused to follow the script.
All those years of finals experience stood them in good stead, as they plied on 30 straight points, 24 of them after halftime, to set up a memorable 30-20 win.
Serial finals performers like centre Jamie Lyon, fullback Brett Stewart and winger David Williams shoved their way to the forefront.
Williams, who has yet to commit to Manly next year, sealed another grand final appearance with one of the more extraordinary tries of the season.
The winger twisted at a seemingly impossible angle to stay in the field of play and ground the ball despite Souths fullback Greg Inglis desperately clinging on to the "Wolfman."
South Sydney's two longest serving players and much-loved local products John Sutton and Nathan Merritt got their side off to a dream start.
Each scored a try, with Merritt's four-pointer enabling him to equal the club's all-time record tally of 144 set by Benny Wearing.
That was as good as it got for Souths, who pulled off a series of try saving tackles just before halftime before the dam broke after half-time.