The Sea Eagles kicked the season off with a rookie coach in Geoff Toovey and a tough traveling schedule starting in Leeds. They lost the World Club Challenge 26-12 infront of 21,061 at Headingley Carnegie Stadium in Leeds, then started a big road trip commencing against 2011 Grand Final opponents, the Warriors at Eden Park. Manly held on to win 26-20 in a thriller.
Manly traveled to Gosford (a home match), Cronulla, Kogarah and Parramatta before returning home to Brookvale on Easter Monday for the first time as Premiers. Even without Brett Stewart and Kieran Foran, Manly smashed the Penrith Panthers 30-0.
Round 8 saw Manly face the Bulldogs for the first time in this new era without Des Hasler. The media attention was huge and the game was too. 24,743 traveled to ANZ Stadium to see Manly have another tough win 12-10.
Manly went on to have 4 wins on the run, including a last minute nailbiter against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium. A surprising loss to Penrith at Centrebet Stadium, 22-4, brought the side back to earth in Round 12. Throughout the Origin period and up til Round 21, the Sea Eagles' form was up and down.
Round 15 saw the rematch of the infamous