The simple change that sparked Sironen
Sea Eagles back-rower Curtis Sironen has revealed a change in attitude from himself and fellow edge forward Frank Winterstein has played a key role in Manly's three-game winning streak.
Life on the northern beaches didn't start swimmingly for Sironen who was restricted to just 92 metres across the opening two rounds of the season, although he was fared better than Winterstein who managed just 83.
Rather than overhauling the team's structures, Sironen said Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett sat the back-rowers down and told them to make a few adjustments to their own games, and Manly have won their past three matches since.
"I think in the first two rounds we just lacked a bit of involvement and the onus was on us because we weren't really looking for the footy," Sironen told NRL.com.
"We were just happy doing our job for the team instead of trying to make an impact so 'Baz' and the coaching staff tinkered a few things and I think that's gotten us into the game a bit more.
"We've built a bit of confidence on the back of that and we've had a few wins since we made those changes. Now it's up to Frank and I to keep doing what we're doing."
 Telstra Premiership: Curtis Sironen vs Frank Winterstein
Hit Ups, All Run Metres, Tackles, Minutes Played.
Sironen revealed he held back at times in a bid to conserve energy for the backend of games but said that was a thing of the past now with the 23-year-old willing to 'give everything in the tank' on a weekly basis.
"I think it was a mixture of a few things such as combinations and match fitness," Sironen said when asked about the initial struggles.
"Frank and I are both 80-minute players. In the first two rounds, sometimes I'd think to myself 'don't have a hit-up this set because you need to last the whole 80 minutes'.
"That wasn't the right mindset and I think that's changed since we've gotten more involved. There are still stages of the game when you are tired but you get your second wind so your workload shouldn't change."
The turning point, according to Sironen, came in Round 3 when the Sea Eagles travelled to Townsville as rank outsiders and did a number on a Cowboys side missing Matt Scott and Jason Taumalolo.
"We took a lot of confidence out of that game," he said.
"A lot of people said it was a weakened Cowboys side, but they tend to forget we were missing Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake. All of our forwards picked up the slack.
"Playing up there in the heat was a really good test for us and we've now got the confidence to know that we can hang in there no matter the conditions."
With the forwards becoming more of a threat in attack, Manly's outside backs have been running riot in recent weeks, as highlighted by Dylan Walker's match-winning double against the Roosters last week.
"Some of the stuff he was doing in pre-season was freakish and made me think 'wow, I'm glad I'm on his team'. He's one of those players who can break a game open with his speed and his finishing ability," Sironen said of Walker.
"It all works in a bit of a cycle. If the forwards are going well then our back five will be doing well and vice versa. The way those guys carry the ball from the back means us big guys don't always have to bring it out in yardage sets from our own end which gives us more energy to produce meaningful plays later in the game."
Sironen was speaking at Telstra's flagship Sydney store where he was helping to promote the NRL app and Live Pass, which streams every game live on mobile devices.
"I'm a new Telstra customer and I'm loving the app," he said.
"I watch a bit of the NBA and other sports on their apps, and I have to pay a fair bit of money to do so. On top of that, unless I'm connected to Wi-Fi, my whole data pack is done in a couple of days. With Telstra it's uncapped so I don't have to worry about that."
Teammate Shaun Lane added the app was a great tool to keep abreast of all things rugby league when on the road.
"A lot of the boys use the app and it's a great way to follow the games when we're on away trips and want to follow what's going on. We just pull out the phone and start watching," he told NRL.com.
"It's very handy to have if you're a footy player or a lover of sports."