It's the season "of the unsung hero at Manly" and Des Hasler, the quietest church mouse of them all, is firming for his second Dally M coach of the year gong.
Hasler was typically understated in the wake of the Sea Eagles' 30-6 thumping of Newcastle on Saturday afternoon, Manly's winning run bringing more than 15,000 to the famed hill at Brookvale.
A sixth win from seven starts has the maroon and whites all but assured of returning to finals footy in Hasler's first year back on the peninsular.
Last year they finished second-last amid the ugliest of fall-outs between coach Trent Barrett, and club hierarchy that chose to put him on gardening leave until last month rather than payout his contract.
It's a swift turnaround that matches Hasler's previous Dally M coach of the year win in 2012, when he took Canterbury to the minor premiership and grand final after missing the semis a year earlier.
Des talks himself down
Skipper Daly Cherry-Evans acknowledged Hasler's influence in the rise of lesser lights Reuben Garrick, Brad Parker and Manase Fainu, which has come with Manly's big guns all firing too over the last two months.
"Every player in the club would vote for Dessie to get that award," Cherry-Evans said.
"It's certainly important to have your best players playing good footy. But this year has certainly been the year of the unsung hero at Manly.
"We've got some players that hadn't played first grade before this season and I think they've done an outstanding job in their first year.
"He deserves a lot of credit for the results that we're getting at the moment. But it would be silly of me to sit here and not acknowledge the playing group.
"There's a lot of hard work that's going on at the moment with the playing group. But Des's guidance has been first class."
Hasler of course wants no part in any discussion of his Dally M claims.
"There's half a dozen better coaches than me," Hasler said.
"I think the minor premiership comes into contention doesn't it? Look at what Melbourne's done.
"They've had what, three losses? Two of those losses have been in extra time.
"Ricky Stuart has done an outstanding job down there at Canberra. Right now that's the furthest thought from my mind, I promise you.
"I haven't done anything. The players have done it all. They've invested and bought in. They've worked extremely hard and it's just great that they can see the benefits of it."
Sizzling Sea Eagles second half
Hasler was more forthcoming on the importance of a top-four finish, Manly's win over Newcastle drawing them level with the fourth-placed Roosters on 26 competition points, though the premiers play lowly Gold Coast on Sunday.
"It's pretty important to get a second chance, [a second] bite of the cherry," Hasler said.
"At the moment the only way we can think about top four is to keep winning these sorts of games. After last week [a thrilling golden point win over Melbourne], to turn up and perform like this, it was an important two points.
"Probably one of the better two points that we've played for this year."