Sea Eagles assistant coach John Cartwright is keen to take over the top job from current mentor Trent Barrett and has the support of the playing group, according to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald.
"When he (Cartwright) talks, we listen,'' one senior player told The Sydney Morning Herald.
It is believed that Cartwright and Barrett have reportedly been transparent with each other, while the former has not yet spoken to the Sea Eagles about succeeding his close friend.
Cartwright was previously the head coach of the Gold Coast Titans for eight seasons and reportedly still has ambitions to be a senior coach.
Other names linked to Manly's top job include former Titans mentor Neil Henry and Super League coaches Michael Maguire and Tim Sheens.
But Cartwright has the advantage of understanding the club's culture and having the backing of the players, including senior trio Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom and Jake Trbojevic.
Manly owner Scott Penn has indicated he would like to make a decision on the new coach within three weeks.
The Sea Eagles will look to avoid the wooden spoon for the first time in their 71-year history with upcoming clashes against the Wests Tigers and Broncos to see out Barrett's coaching reign.