Broncos on red alert: McCullough
Brisbane Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough is not surprised by the scintillating form of the Manly Sea Eagles and his side are on red alert for a Suncorp Stadium ambush on Saturday night.
Trent Barrett's men will host the Broncos in Brisbane, travelling up from Sydney to take centre stage in the second game of the NRL's double-header.
The Sea Eagles have won their last two matches and also pushed the table-topping Melbourne Storm all the way, falling short by just four points in a Round 7 thriller.
The surprise packets of 2017, Manly sit sixth on the ladder with the second-best attack in the league, averaging 24 points per game with only the St George Illawarra Dragons doing better.
It's why McCullough was so full of praise for the Sea Eagles when he spoke to NRL.com, saying it was only a matter of time before Manly returned to the top half of the ladder after a couple of disappointing seasons in 2015 and 2016.
"I'm not surprised (by how well they're doing). If you look at the names they have across the board they've always been capable," McCullough said.
"They are really starting to gel together now with the balance of the squad that they have.
"The key players they have in key positions are starting to play themselves into good form.
"They were always going to get back up to where they were. It was only a matter of time. It's taken a couple of years. They've recruited very well."
But perhaps the main reason for Manly's rapid rise isn't a new recruit, rather a household name that has come into his own in 2017.
Daly Cherry-Evans has been on fire this year, leading the competition for try assists with nine to his name.
The 28-year-old also has six line-break assists, just three behind Sydney Rooster Luke Keary who is atop the leaderboard with nine.
With Johnathan Thurston in doubt for Game One of State of Origin with a shoulder injury, Cherry-Evans's name is now in contention to be recalled after he last ran out for the Queensland Maroons in 2015.
McCullough has marked Cherry-Evans as a danger man for his side on Saturday night, giving him credit for the Sea Eagles' great start to the year.
"A few of the boys are good mates with Daly. He's been playing some great footy this year," he said.
"His form has helped Manly go on a bit of a roll. I'm looking forward to taking him on in the double-header.
"It's an exciting night. It's a little bit strange having an away game at home, especially because we are in the away dressing sheds."