The departure of Martin Taupau has created a healthy competition for spots on the northern beaches, with Manly's young and ambitious pack battling it out for the chance to become the club's new enforcer.

Sean Keppie, Toafofoa Sipley and Taniela Paseka are all preparing to take the step up, but ultimately, only one can prevail in coach Anthony Seibold's new-look forward pack.

“We have a lot of forwards in our stockpile, but it's a race to see who is going to step up,” Keppie told the Daily Telegraph.

“It's good competition, but I'm willing to take that step.

“I'm training really hard. Come Round 1, we'll see what happens. If I get that chance, I'll take it with both hands.”

Keppie, in particular, has been earmarked as a future leader of the pack in the same vein as previous club icons like Mark Carroll and Ian Roberts. Though he's signed until the end of 2026, he's determined not to let long-term job security curtail his ambition.

“The club has a vision for me. They've told me what they want from me. They said they see value in me and have a lot of faith in me,” Keppie continued.

Manly's head of recruitment Scott Fulton confirmed the club's hopes for the 24-year-old.

“(Keppie) is doing everything right. He's very well perceived off the field with the charity work he does. Moving forward on the field, that's without a doubt the vision for him – that enforcer,” Fulton told the Telegraph.

“He's big and tough, athletic, has good offloads. It's about creating a pack you don't want to play against.

“When I was playing, teams didn't want to take on a pack with guys like Mark Carroll, Ian Roberts and Solomon Haumono.

“They were so fearsome, you didn't want to run into them.

“Sean would have fit well in those teams.”

Camden-born Keppie has played 59 games for the Sea Eagles since making his debut in 2019.