Manly Sea Eagles winger Reuben Garrick.

Questions were raised as to whether Des Hasler’s return would be enough to fix the Sea Eagles, a team that finished 2018 with the worst defensive record.

The fact he’s had to do it with stars Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans spending so much time on the sidelines says plenty about the hardest worker north of the Harbour Bridge.

“I’ve always had confidence playing, but he heightens it. He wants us playing nines and tens footy, not aiming for fives and sixes (out of 10),” last week’s hat-trick hero, Reuben Garrick, says.

“He encourages us to back ourselves. When we’re on the field he wants us to go hard and not leave anything in the tank, not play the low-percentage plays.”

The best coaches in the game are the ones who extract every last drop of talent and effort from their players, and that’s something the two-time premiership-winning mentor prides himself on.

The Sea Eagles don’t have the best facilities nor the most talented roster, but Hasler has instilled a work ethic that can match it with any of their rivals.

Last week it emerged he’d been able to help Moses Suli shed weight through a rigorous dietary regime, while other young players such as new recruit Morgan Boyle have flourished under his leadership.

“You have to earn his respect. It’s no walk in the park. You have to put your best foot forward every time you go out there, that’s all he asks of you,” Boyle tells Big League.

“I don’t play too many minutes so I’m at training on Tuesday or whenever, and he’s always there before us. I usually start at 6.30am and he’s already there cutting video. I don’t think he goes to sleep. He’s always keeping tabs on everyone. Even if you think he’s not watching you, he’s got an eye on you."

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