Daly Cherry-Evans claims Manly have found a way to play without Tom Trbojevic, changing their game plan for when their superstar fullback is out.
Friday night's 50-18 flogging of North Queensland marked just their 10th win without Trbojevic in their last 35 attempts.
The 32-point margin was also their biggest without him since before his 2015 debut, with no other player in the NRL more influential over their team's output.
Trbojevic will return against Gold Coast next week but Manly will be without him in round 17 and Cherry-Evans is at least hopeful Friday's result shows they have turned a corner.
He indicated the Sea Eagles now operate with a slightly different game plan when without Trbojevic.
"We've built really nicely and put ourselves in a position that when Tom's out we're a bit clearer on how we can play and support each other," Cherry-Evans said.
"We've had a fair bit of time to deal with it all and process what it looks like when Tom's not playing.
"There's a lot that's happened in and around that ... from a coaching point of view.
"No-one will replace Tom, and Tom's an important part of our team, but if Tom's not playing no-one can be Tom.
"Tonight was a good example of people understanding what they can do to help us win."
Friday's win also came despite Cherry-Evans not training with the side all week while in Origin camp.
Coach Des Hasler made the call to move Reuben Garrick to fullback, after Dylan Walker filled in for Trbojevic there in the Sea Eagles' horror start to the year.
"There was obviously a couple of different theories from the coaching staff and a different game plan (without Tom)," Cherry-Evans said.
"So we have to tip our cap to what they've implemented there.
"I didn't train all week but it felt everyone was so clear on their roles, it just felt I had to do my part."
Garrick's game was easily his best as a fullback, scoring a 95-metre try and remaining faultless under the high ball after filling in there in previous years.
"In attack it was just about no yardage areas and just be solid popping up in the right spots," Garrick said.
"It was just keeping it really simple. It made it really clear on what I had to do."
Meanwhile Manly have pushed back the returns of second-rowers Curtis Sironen (knee) and Josh Schuster (calf) for at least another fortnight.
Australian Associated Press