We are now all but guaranteed a spot in the finals. A home win against the Knights next week will seal the deal. The disintegration of the NZ Warriors is a reminder of just how hard it is these days for a grand final team to back up the following year. Since the 2004 decider, (ignoring Melbourne in the years they were found to have cheated) only 5 of the 13 grand final teams have even made it into the Top 8 the following season. Brisbane in '07 limped into 8th and lost their qualifying final 40-nil. Illawarra in '11 also limped into finals). This year will be the THIRD time in that period Manly has backed up from a grand final to make the finals again the next year. Dogs, Tigers, Cowboys, Eels, Roosters (twice) and now the poor old Warriors are overwhelming evidence that - even if we don't go all the way this year - we can still be proud of what the team is achieving.