South Sydney's senior players have held Manly up as the club the Rabbitohs are striving to match over the coming years as they prepare to gatecrash the NRL's established order. Premiers Manly have made the finals every year since 2005 and will make it eight consecutive appearances this season - a marked contrast to Souths' dismal play-off record.
The Rabbitohs will this year reach the finals for only the second time since 1989 and have not won the competition since 1971.
The Bunnies crave Manly's consistency after four decades of failure.
Ahead of Friday's clash with Manly at Gosford, centre Matt King told Sportal: "I can understand why they have been so successful.
"They have a great belief in themselves and each other and have a strong core of senior players who lead the young blokes around.
"They have a lot of steel.
"We haven't had any success as yet. Things need to go well for a long time period of time for you to say you've got it all together.
"Manly have it, Melbourne have it, Brisbane have done it for a long time and clubs like Geelong in the AFL have it.
"Greatness is earned over a long period of time and there is no doubt Manly are a great team.
"Every team marks themselves against the premiers and we'll be no different.
Souths five-eighth John Sutton concurs, adding: "Games against Manly are never easy.
"They hang in games and have class players all over the park
"They're a tough team. They are always there at the end of the season and have won a couple of grand finals in recent years and they're contenders again.
"We know it's going to be a tough one on Friday night."
"But we've come a long way since last year and this is just another challenge along the way."
Full-back Nathan Merritt is another Sea Eagles admirer.
"They've had a change of coach and had to do a lot of travel this year but they've met every challenge," he said.
"They're still showing the NRL they are a great side.
"Manly have been in the top four the last few years and are premiers so it's going to be a big task for us."
Victory at Bluetongue Stadium is almost certain to ensure South Sydney a top four finish.