A defiant Daly Cherry-Evans insists just one win can turn Manly's NRL campaign around despite recording the worst defensive start to a year by any team in 15 years.
The 38 points the Sea Eagles gave up to St George Illawarra on Friday took their against tally to 110 points, the most of any team through the first three rounds since Canberra in 2006.
The struggling side has now lost 11 of their past 12 games dating back to mid last year, and face a red-hot Penrith on Thursday as they bid to avoid going 0-4 for the first time since 2009.
But Cherry-Evans insists all hope is not lost at Manly, who also received news last week that Tom Trbojevic's return had been pushed back to round five.
"We have to (dig our way out)," Cherry-Evans said.
"We just have to fight for that next week. Once you get your first win all sorts of momentum can get created.
"So we are one win away from getting out of this. It's that simple.
"You'll be very surprised at our own ability once we get rolling. We really just need to get this first one."
Cherry-Evans will ram that message home to his younger players this week, adamant this is not the darkest period he has seen at the club.
"If you're young and don't know any better three in a row can be quite daunting," he said.
"But I know our next win, can come as quickly as next week and then our season changes."
But it's not just defence where Manly have issues, with Kieran Foran's reunion with Cherry-Evans in the halves hardly triumphant.
The 28 points Manly have scored in attack is also their equal-least since 1949, which was just the club's third year in the competition.
They completed at just 57 per cent in the first half against the Dragons, as Hasler described their work with ball in hand as "frantic" and in need of "reconstruction".
But Cherry-Evans suggested that was perhaps Manly's best way out of trouble, claiming if passes stick then the club's fortunes can turn.
"We're still finding the balance of our attack. So while it definitely looks frantic I really like the fact that we're trying to play," the Manly captain said.
"In that first half, if a couple of those offloads (came off) it could have been us going in leading 18-6.
"We just have to play a style of footy that works for us. And after three rounds and three losses we probably haven't found that just yet.
"So we do have plenty of work ahead of us in getting the attack to to click and matching that up with some real steely defence."
WORST DEFENSIVE STARTS TO A SEASON AFTER ROUND THREE SINCE 2006:
Canberra (2006): 140 points conceded
Manly (2021): 110
Gold Coast (2020): 106
Sydney Roosters (2016): 103
Gold Coast (2018): 102
Newcastle (2016): 102
Sydney Roosters (2010): 102
North Queensland (2008): 102
MANLY'S WORST ATTACKING STARTS
1949: 21 points
2021: 28 points
1999: 28 points
1963: 32 points
1998: 32 points
1962: 33 points