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DCE proclaims Manly top-four contender

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/06/2017 Steve Zemek

You haven't seen anything yet.

That's the warning from Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans to the rest of the NRL after his side's rise from also-rans to contenders this year

Cherry-Evans has warned a finals appearance is not a fait accompli for the men from Sydney's northern beaches despite having worked their way into a position to shoot for a top-four finish.

Pegged as a bottom-four outfit before the season, they are now in sixth and just two points behind third-placed St George Illawarra.

Such a prospect was unthinkable to many at the start of the year however Trent Barrett's side have performed strongly against the competition's contenders to put themselves in the frame.

In the first 13 rounds they have racked up wins against North Queensland and the Sydney Roosters, got within four points of Melbourne and gave up a second-half lead against Brisbane.

"(Being a top four side) was something that was mentioned before the year had even started," Cherry-Evans said.

"We understand people need to make predictions on where the ladder is going to end up but our understanding of the squad we have, the coaching staff we have available to us, we were quite confident.

"We're not getting ahead of ourselves, we're at the halfway mark, we're in a good position to put ourselves in finals contention. To think big picture, it's exciting."

Driving Manly's self belief is the realisation that they haven't yet played their best footy this year and have at times been stuck in second gear.

They suffered a worrying fade-out against Canberra on the weekend, only to get over the link thanks to a Cherry-Evans golden point field goal.

It was reminiscent of the way they flagged in the second half against the Broncos and Cherry-Evans said correcting that remained their prime concern.

"Our coaching staff is forever harping that we're by no means where we need to be to play semi-final football," Cherry-Evans said.

"We know we can do it. We're not there yet. That's the most important part, while playing well, knowing there is a lot of improvement left in us."

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