It’s one of the most famous rivalries in rugby league and another great chapter will be written in Newcastle tonight.
The mighty Manly Warringah Sea Eagles take on the Newcastle Knights at McDonalds Jones Stadium on what is expected to be another wet night of footy.
The Sea Eagles left their Narrabeen headquarters yesterday to travel up the M1 Freeway to prepare for the big round five match just a few days after coming back from their successful road trip to Mudgee. What a town that is!
And just like Mudgee, the Sea Eagles will be hoping the two points climb back on the bus after an impressive performance from Des Hasler’s men last Saturday to make it back-to-back wins this season.
Sure, it will be a little harder now with the loss of Dally M Medal winner Tom Trbojevic with a knee injury but it also gives an opportunity to powerful young winger Christian Tuipulotu.
The Sea Eagles have also been boosted by the great news of a new two-year-deal for inspirational captain and half-back Daly Cherry-Evans until the end of the 2025 season after his current contract expires at the end of next season.
Cherry-Evans has been on song in the Sea Eagles’ past two wins, so look out for another big game from Daly. Co-incidentally, Manly’s last win in Newcastle came on the day when Cherry-Evans played his 200th game for the Sea Eagles in 2019 and followed on from two back-to-back wins.
Now as for that great rivalry, well, when you say Manly are playing Newcastle, two things spring to mind.
The first – the devastating Andrew Johns blindside play that led to Darren Albert’s 1997 grand final winning try (yes, many of you reading this are still recovering), and then the second – the famous battles at the old Marathon Stadium between Manly hard man Mark Carroll and Newcastle’s Paul Harragon.
Everyone loved the big hits and fiery exchanges between the ‘Spud’ and the ‘Chief’.
And then over the years, both clubs have traded players. In recent times, you have Jamie Buhrer, who played 128 games for the Sea Eagles before a 45 game stint with the Knights, and Akuila Uate, who played 161 games for the Knights before playing 39 for the Sea Eagles.
However, the title of most successful player to don the maroon and white and the blue and red goes to the great Ben Kennedy.
Kennedy played 86 games for the Knights between 2000-04, winning the 2001 premiership, before playing 42 games for the Sea Eagles in 2005-06.
His relentless will to win helped installed the confidence in the team to go on and win the 2008 and 2011 premierships.
Kennedy had such an impact at both clubs that he was named in Newcastle and Manly’s greatest ever teams.
So, strap yourselves in for another great clash between two proud clubs who will also be vying to take home the Malcolm Reilly Trophy in honour of a great man who did so much for Manly and Newcastle.
Reilly played 89 games for Manly from 1971-75 and played in their premiership winning teams in 1972 and ’73. He later coached Newcastle to their first premiership victory against Manly.
The two clubs play for the trophy when they meet for the first time each season. The trophy was first played for in 2007
Bring it on!
Rd 5 Manly vs Newcastle
McDonald Jones Stadium
Thursday, April 6, 7.50pm