Kieran Foran has praised the leaders at his club, saying that if Manly are to go back-to-back this season, much of the credit should go to coach Geoff Toovey and co-captains Jason King and Jamie Lyon.
Speaking as a guest on Wednesday night's episode of NRL on Fox, Foran said 2012 had been far more challenging than last year's premiership season and their top four position was testament to the club's strength.
The Sea Eagles were an unknown quantity coming in to this year after premiership coach Des Hasler moved on to Canterbury-Bankstown and Foran said Toovey had done a superb job to keep the side together.
"It's been a pretty interrupted season, if you look back on it, with injuries, suspensions, players coming off contract - you know, who was going to be there next year?" Foran said.
"But he's been really good. He's dealt with that and it looks like he's retained most of the players and we're winning again at this time of the year."
While suspension and injury have forced changes to the Sea Eagles' game plan at different stages of the season, Foran said Toovey had borrowed large components from Hasler's sucessful blueprint to give Manly's 2012 side the best shot of defending their title.
"He didn't really need to change too much ... We had our structures set in place for so many years now, Tooves just came in and kind of put his spin on things, changed what he wanted to change, and yeah I think it's starting to take its place," Foran said.
Foran has been one of the key players to go down with injury for an extended period this year and he said that, along with some form issues had made his partnership with gun halfback Daly Cherry-Evans more challenging.
"It's been a really testing year for us this year. Moreso than last year, because like I said, it's been a pretty interrupted year and we haven't been at our best," Foran said.
"We've worked really hard on our games together - we've done a lot of work with the coaching staff and the other boys - but I suppose this year we speak a lot about footy to one another."
While the Kiwi five-eighth believes his relationchip with Cherry-Evans will continue to flourish, he saved the highest praise for co-captains Lyon and King, who he described as "excellent leaders".
"They lead on and off the field," Foran said. "Kingy's a very good talker and Killer's just a freak.
"He leads with his actions on the field. He doesn't have too much to say most the time and he just pretty much gets out there and says 'follow me boys' with his actions on the field.
"And so too Jason King, they're both very good leaders, but we've got quite a few good leaders in our side."