Manly's mutual admiration society between props Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake is giving the Sea Eagles a solid base for their 2019 Telstra Premiership season.
Fonua-Blake says Taupau is his role model, while Taupau says his front row partner drives him to be a better player.
Whatever the seeds of success are, the green shoots shot through in the 46-12 win over the Warriors in Christchurch last weekend as the pair racked up 10 tackle breaks and 110 post-contact metres between them.
"He actually makes my job a lot easier. We really do complement each other's game," Taupau said.
"We just do what we do and try to generate some momentum through the middle."
Fonua-Blake says it's a privilege working with Taupau.
"It's always good playing with Marty. He always sets the bar higher with his runs and that. I try to come off the back of it," Fonua-Blake said.
"Since I got here he's always been a rep player so I've tried to learn off him. He carries himself so well so he's definitely a good role model."
Taupau has also seen Fonua-Blake blossom.
"I always looked out for that kid. He's come a long way from when he first came to Manly. His development as a human being and as a rugby league player," Taupau said.
The pair will be at it again when South Sydney arrives at Lottoland on Saturday for their round four match on Saturday.
"[I'm] looking forward to all the Burgess boys now with [George] back from suspension, Tom still in there and Sam on the edges," Fonua-Blake said.
"They've got a young Junior Tatola in the middle and he's doing a good job for them. So it's a good test in the middle for us."
The trick is to bring some ear muffs when the Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles forwards go toe-to-toe.
"There will definitely be a few big collisions on the weekend, but that's what our job is – take those hits and keep going," Fonua-Blake said.
Coach Des Hasler doesn't have to issue any tips to Taupau on how to isolate the Burgess brothers, or get around them.
"Go right through them. There's no better way," Taupau said.
"You try and kick down a door and if doesn't work the first time, you keep trying until it breaks."
The Manly defence showed it has some starch as well. The Sea Eagles scored eight tries against the Warriors – by six different players – and only let in two.
All up it was a satisfying win – Manly's first to really kick-start their 2019.
"It definitely brings a lot of energy and a lot of faith back into the group – and for the fans as well.
"We can't wait to tough it out with Souths back at Lottoland," Taupau said.