Sea Eagles teammate Justin Horo has lauded Jamie Buhrer as the side's unsung hero after they returned to the top of the table with a 15-12 win over the Titans on Sunday. Credit: Charles Knight. Copyright: NRL Photos
He will wait until the end of the season before making a decision on his own playing future but Manly prop Jason King says he is thrilled with the way in which the next generation of Sea Eagles forwards have taken up the mantle.
While the star-studded backline rightly receives much of the plaudits, Manly's men in the middle are creating the space and time for them to weave their magic and it's a cobbled-together bunch of imports getting the job done.
Josh Starling, Tom Symonds, Brenton Lawrence, Justin Horo, James Hasson and Jesse Sene-Lefao were all invited to further their footy careers on Sydney's northern beaches from clubs throughout the NRL and have assimilated seamlessly into the Sea Eagles way of lie alongside the likes of King, Anthony Watmough and Matt Ballin.
Given the success the club has enjoyed over the past decade it is by no means a small feat and their adoption of the club's culture particularly pleasing for a 14-season veteran such as King.
"[The club culture] is something we pride ourselves on but at the same time it's a real credit to those guys," 33-year-old King told NRL.com.
"It's not easy coming into a new club, especially if it's a successful club, but they've come in, they've bought into the culture, they've trained extremely hard and when they've got their opportunity they've grabbed it and haven't let anybody down.
"It's really great to see from a club perspective.
"I'm just happy to have been able to string a few games together and I'll make a decision on what I'm going to do next in the next couple of months."
After missing three weeks through suspension, Horo was forced to make his return from the bench in Round 22 and had to ride the pine again for the opening exchanges against the Titans on Sunday, unable to unseat fellow second-year Sea Eagle Tom Symonds.
Now in the second year of a three-year deal at the Sea Eagles, Horo said that he and his fellow imports are conscious of upholding Manly's success of recent years and leaning on the senior players for advice.
"You look at Tommy Symonds and Jamie Buhrer, they've taken their opportunities, I had three weeks off and now I've got to come back and earn my spot again," Horo said.
"We get a lot out of the senior boys. We've still got a lot of great leaders in the squad with 'Choccy' (Anthony Watmough), Matty Ballin, Jason King, 'Gifty' (Glenn Stewart) has missed a fair bit of footy this year but he still has a big influence on the club.
"Even last year when I came in, I just tried to learn as much as I could from them and if we do a good job in the middle we've got the class outside to put some points on."
Not sighted since injuring his ankle back in Round 8, Glenn Stewart is a chance of returning for the Round 25 clash with the Panthers at Brookvale Oval but Horo says the man who has filled the void is one of the competition leader's unsung heroes.
Jamie Buhrer has been a starter in the Sea Eagles forward pack since Round 9 and produced 162 metres and 30 tackles against the Titans on Sunday, the ninth time he has run for more than 100m over the past 14 games.
"One of the most under-rated players is Jamie Buhrer for us. He's done a great job for the club over the last four or five years and whenever he gets put into a role he does a great job for us," Horo said.
"'Gifty' is a really integral part of that right edge and has been for close to 10 years so for Jamie to come in and still do a really good job, it's kind of seamless the way he's gone about it.
"He's got good skill and I think he's one of the most under-rated players in the comp but we all really appreciate him at our club.
"He's got a really good relationship with 'Cherry' (Daly Cherry-Evans) and I think that helps him and you've got 'Killer' (Jamie Lyon) outside talking to him all the time.
"The hardest thing is probably getting into the team. Once you're in the team you kind of just roll with it, it's like a well-oiled machine and we just kind of work together with it."