Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans has offered his support to the prospect of Des Hasler returning to Brookvale, describing him as a formative character in his career.
Hasler's management is negotiating with the NRL club, with Sea Eagles chairman Scott Penn confirming Hasler is a contender to take over the NRL coaching job from Trent Barrett.
Cherry-Evans is the only remaining member of the Manly side that Hasler guided to victory in the 2011 grand final before his acrimonious departure to Canterbury.
Cherry-Evans, speaking in Auckland in the Australian camp, said he hadn't been updated by Sea Eagles officials on their search for a new coach after Barrett tendered his resignation.
However, he welcomed the idea of Hasler returning, saying the coach occupied a special place in his heart after handing him his first-grade debut.
"Tim Sheens gave me an Aussie jersey, Mal Meninga a Queensland (jersey) and Des Hasler at club," Cherry-Evans said.
"So those three coaches are people that I'll never forget.
"If I was to link up with my first-ever first-grade coach, I'd be all for it."
The northern beaches are often referred to as the "insular peninsula" and Sea Eagles fans live by the motto "No one likes us and we don't care".
It's often said that Manly needs a coach ingrained in the Manly culture to thrive and Cherry-Evans described Hasler as one of the architects of the Manly siege mentality.
"Everyone hates Manly so our backs are against the wall and we love playing that style of footy and living with that mentality," Cherry-Evans said.
"Obviously Des was a big part of that. If he gets the opportunity to come back, I'm sure he'll pick up where he left off."
Penn has stated he's happy to work with Hasler despite his departure in 2011 being on unpleasant terms after he was accused of attempting to induce staff members to follow him to Belmore.
Cherry-Evans said there was no ill will between the players and Hasler.
"I can only speak on behalf of myself, but no," Cherry-Evans said.
"I think I've made it very clear throughout my career I wouldn't begrudge anyone for making sure they're looking after themselves.
"It's a pretty cruel game we're playing. Job security is a thing that's very rare.
"For people to look after their own future, it's certainly not a problem for me."