Roger Tuivasa-Sheck believes the Warriors are finally developing the right recipe for their attacking game, in a transformation that has been years in the making.
Across the first third of this NRL season, the Auckland team have had a Jekyll and Hyde campaign, with memorable matches mixed in with some forgettable periods.
But there's been a sense that their offensive game is building, despite all the injury disruptions.
There was the cavalier comeback in Canberra, the dash and bash against St George and the first half against the Cowboys last Sunday, undoubtedly the best 40 minutes of their season.
It's significant and further proof that the Warriors are moving away from their game model of previous seasons.
The nadir was the 2019 campaign, with a highly structured strategy espoused by coach Stephen Kearney and orchestrated by Blake Green. They were a one-dimensional team and often easy to defend against.
That started to change in 2020 under Todd Payten and has evolved further this season.
They are more direct – punching through the middle – and have long-range threats, utilising their pace and power out wide.
The first half last Sunday was the kind of freewheeling display witnessed occasionally in the Andrew McFadden era, and to a lesser extent Matt Elliott's tenure.
There's always a balance, as the defensive side of the game is of paramount importance, but the attack is no longer regimented.
"That's one thing that we're trying to improve on is allowing our team to play footy," said Tuivasa-Sheck. "Hopefully you've seen in the Cowboys game that first half, just the way our middles were able to tip on the ball wherever, we were able to play from yardage.
"[Whereas] before we seemed to be a team that relied heavily on our back five to get us out of yardage and then we try our luck in 'good ball' [areas]. We are improving and trying to play footy more in yardage."
It's helped – in his sixth season at the club – that the Warriors are starting to optimise the talents of Tuivasa-Sheck, saving his spark for when it really matters, rarely than endless energy sapping hit-ups.
He ran for a game high 225 metres and made eight tackle breaks last Sunday, in one of his best displays of 2021.
"Yeah, still improving, still working on it," said Tuivasa-Sheck, when asked about the balance. "I'm starting to work on when and where I should put myself, starting to work out what indicators that I need to play off."
Tuivasa-Sheck has had numerous rookies outside him this year – with teenage wing Edward Kosi the latest - and admits it has been a mind shift.
"We always have our back-five meetings, we catch up and I just look at the group and now I am like a couple of years older than everyone," said Tuivasa-Sheck. "It's a first for me. I usually like being the young one, bringing lots of energy in the group, but there's a lot more younger boys coming through and it's good to see."
On Sunday the Warriors get a chance to atone for the 13-12 defeat to the Sea Eagles last month, arguably their worst performance of the season.
That mistake-riddled effort helped to kick start Manly's campaign, who have won three of their last four games after going winless in the opening five weeks.
"We were real poor in that game, and we can be a lot better in the way we control our ball and finish our sets," agreed Tuivasa-Sheck.
Manly has been boosted by the return of Tom Trbojevic over the last month, as the fullback, much like Tuivasa-Sheck, lifts the entire team with his presence.
"Tommy likes to play through the middle and he plays off [Daly] Cherry-Evans and off the pack," said Tuivasa-Sheck. "When they get going, he just sniffs [around] and jumps on opportunities and that's what we've got to stop first, their pack."
Tuivasa-Sheck will relish the personal battle.
"It's another opportunity for me to challenge one of the best players in our game," said Tuivasa-Sheck. "[I'm] going to try and do my best to outplay him and if I can do that it goes a long way for our team doing well."