Before the season began our team was rated also-rans by the bookies and pundits. Some of the Manly faithful â€“ including me! - remained optimistic, but in honesty, that may partly have been simply out of habit. We had lost our halfback and were pinning our hopes on a youngster who had never played at NRL level. We had Brett Stewart due to return from almost 2 years out of the game and no-one knew for sure how he would hold up. Off-season buying spree? Not for the Sea Eagles. What about riding momentum from last year? No, in fact we lost all our last games including a brave but doomed elimination semi in which we were totally outclassed. In each of Manly's previous 7 premierships we had started the year as one of the stand-out favourites. Those teams each had lots of rep stars, including a number of imports, with the exception of our 2008 champs. But even they started as beaten grand finalists from the year before, and were by no means outsiders when the betting markets opened. By comparison, the 2011 team was unheralded. To have achieved what they have, in the manner they have, speaks volumes for the players and coaching staff. Manly is the most successful club of the modern era, and as the dust settles we will look back on this stunning triumph and recognise it as ranking among the greatest ever in our proud history. Go Manly!