New Sea Eagles skipper Daly Cherry-Evans says there will be no excuses at Lottoland this season as the northern beaches club looks to snap a two-year absence from the finals.
Having been a mainstay in the post-season every year from 2005 to 2014, the Sea Eagles had their top-eight streak broken with a ninth-place finish in 2009 before they slumped to 13th last season in what was their lowest finish since 2004.
Their cause wasn't helped by a ridiculous injury list that restricted club stalwarts Steve Matai and Brett Stewart to just eight and 11 games respectively, while former skipper Jamie Lyon managed 17 appearances in his final NRL season.
But with a revamped roster and a relatively clean bill of health, Cherry-Evans said there was no reason for his side to spend September watching footy from the couch in 2017.
"We definitely had a lot of excuses and a lot of reasons to not play well last year, and we probably bought into them, myself included," Cherry-Evans said from the club's training base on Tuesday.
"This year I don't think the playing group will give themselves an opportunity or an excuse to lay down. I think that's going to be a great trait of ours.
"We've had an extremely long pre-season because of our own fault for not making finals in previous years. It's been a long time coming and I am looking forward to the season ahead.
"Two years in a row with no finals, definitely it was a bit harder to watch the finals last year. To be honest, I didn't watch too much of the finals series because it really did hurt a little bit. I'm looking forward this year to hopefully putting Manly back on the map."
 Telstra Premiership: Daly Cherry-Evans
Try Assists, Total Kicks, Line Break Assists.
The upcoming season will have extra meaning for Cherry-Evans, with the 28-year-old recently unveiled as the club's new skipper.
Considering most people had tipped Jake Trbojevic to assume the role, the premiership-winning halfback was shocked to be named Jamie Lyon's successor but said he'd head into the new season with the primary objective to restore Manly to the powerhouse club that saw them make four grand finals in seven seasons.
"To be honest, I wasn't really quite sure where that was going to go this year," Cherry-Evans said.
"I felt as though there were so many options to replace Jamie Lyon. I understood that I would have been in contention, but to get it, I was a bit surprised – purely based on the amount of good leaders within this club we have at the moment.
"That leadership role wasn't given to me last year so I wasn't expecting that to change. But it has, and it's an opportunity for me to show my leadership skills and it's something I'm extremely proud and excited to have next to my name.
"They're big shoes to fill – what Jamie Lyon has left – but at the end of the day if I don't have a crack then I'm not doing my job for the team.
"As the halfback of the side I already felt myself as a leader within the side. It's a little reassuring with the 'c' next to your name that your voice does carry far through the playing group. It's an extremely proud moment for myself."