This concept is somewhat of a poisoned chalice so far as NRL teams go, judging by recent premierships. From the Tigers in 2005 through to last year, only about twice has the dominant team through the regular rounds actually gone on to win the comp. One of those was the Cheats in 2007, and the other was Illawarra who led throughout before winning in 2010 (having led also in 2009 before bombing out). The Dogs can be the benchmarks this year, or even Souths or Melbourne if they like. It only means they will be feeling a great weight of expectation in the finals. The ultimate winner will be the team that times their run to perfectionâ€¦ and Manly are very well placed to make a late run.