Manly United goalkeeper Dylan Mitchell has heard the whispers.
The Premiership last season was a fluke, his ‘small’ squad from Cromer Park are not actually genuine title contenders.
“That’s fine, people can say what they want,” the passionate shot-stopper told Football NSW.
“The reality is we finished with the silverware on grand final day.
“But it goes without saying all the boys are keen to show it was not a one-off.
“In fact, we are targeting finishing first past the post and then another finals run.”
United have kept the nucleus of their squad from 2017, with Dejan Pandurevic the only major departure after securing a professional contract in Serbia.
With coach Paul Dee back at the helm after 12 months working in Melbourne, it could be argued Manly look even stronger.
“Kieren Paull and Sam Wilson have been terrific all pre-season, and I’m also tipping a big year from Dom Ferguson,” Mitchell said.
“Throw in the likes of Choc (Brendan Cholakian), Sash Macura, Dylan (Macallister) and a fit again Matt Fletcher, we will definitely be competitive.”
Mitchell has also been impressed with rising stars George Firth and Kye Conna.
“Both those young boys have big futures,” he said.
“We are a club who like to promote from within.
“Everyone just can’t wait for the season proper to begin – you would think the likes of Rockdale, Sydney United, APIA and Marconi will be up there.
“Our intention is to be alongside them.”
Manly United begin their campaign when they host APIA Leichhardt in a mouth-watering grand final replay at Cromer Park on Saturday, March 10.
Kick-off is 7pm.