Des Hasler's famous radar is back with Manly insisting they aren't among the NRL best sides despite being one of the most dominant teams of the past three months.
The Sea Eagles loom as the genuine dark horse of the finals, with Tom Trbojevic's red-hot season making them one of the biggest threats to Melbourne and Penrith.
After losing their first four games for the worst opening month in the club's history, Manly have won 11 of their past 14.
Their for-and-against through that period is second best behind only Melbourne, with their points differential of +273 above that of both Penrith and South Sydney.
Despite their top-four hopes being well and truly alive, captain Daly Cherry-Evans maintains his side should not be considered as one of the competition's elite.
"I still think there's a bit of a gap between the top sides and where we are," the halfback said.
"Everyone's talking about Melbourne and Souths and Panthers and that's rightly so.
"They've been extremely consistently this season. Parramatta are the forgotten team up there but they're going really well.
"That's not to stop our belief to say we don't we don't think we can beat them.
"We definitely believe we can beat the top sides when given the opportunity, but like I said we're not the perfect outfit."
Cherry-Evans' comments are reminiscent of Hasler's attempts to keep the Sea Eagles under the radar in previous premiership assaults.
Manly's 495 points scored over the past 14 games is second to Melbourne, but their defence ranks below the Panthers, Eels and Storm's.
Cherry-Evans identified defence as their biggest issue for the run home, with the 24 points they conceded against Wests Tigers on Saturday highlighting their deficiencies.
Manly face Cronulla, Parramatta and Melbourne in the next three weeks as their only top-eight match ups.
Parramatta's clash with the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night kicks off the top-four race over the final six rounds.
Both the Eels and Roosters then face Penrith and South Sydney on the way to the finals, while the Eels also have Melbourne in round 24.
"You start off your season with, really strong belief that you can go to the end of the of the comp and win," Cherry-Evans said.
"But our first four weeks beat our confidence up a fair bit to be fair.
"Ever since then we've just been trying to build back our momentum and build back our belief.
"Over the course of the season that has come back."
NRL'S TOP-FOUR RACE AND KEY GAMES
4. Parramatta - 28 points
5. Sydney Roosters - 26 points
6. Manly - 24 points
Roosters v Eels
Eels v Rabbitohs
Roosters v Panthers
Sea Eagles v Storm
Sea Eagles v Eels
Roosters v Rabbitohs
Storm v Eels
Eels v Panthers
Australian Associated Press