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It's on again: Manly v Melbourne

As a lifelong Sea Eagles fan, it is driven into you from a very early age that 'Everyone hates Manly'.

Yours truly is not old enough to know why this is the case, but it's not something I've ever questioned, growing up on the Northern Beaches.

What I am old enough to remember, though, is being at the 2007 Grand Final against the Melbourne Storm with my Dad.

I remember him distinctly saying, after Michael Crocker knocked out our much loved full-back Brett Stewart, “Its going to be OK son, we can still beat them”. We lost 34-8. 

A year later, Dad couldn’t make the 2008 Grand Final, so I made the long trip from Collaroy to Homebush with a bus full of mates.

Melbourne were playing their third grand final in a row, and had an aura of invincibility about them, and a second Grand Final win in a row would anoint them the greatest NRL dynasty since the Broncos of the early 90s.

Melbourne finished the regular season as Minor Premiers, just pipping Manly and the Sharks on for and against. They got Manly twice in the regular season, a 26-4 round 5 hammering in Melbourne, and a 16-10 loss at Brookvale in Round 22.

Throw in the 2007 GF result, and Melbourne had a three game win streak against us. There wasn’t really any reason for me and the crew to feel “cautiously optimistic” as we entered Homebush Stadium an hour before the 5pm kick off.

Little did we know we were walking into rugby league history. I am a married father of two, but I tell everyone (except for my wife), that October 5 2008, was the greatest day of my life as Manly won 40-0...which to this day, remains the biggest ever winning margin in a Grand Final.

Menzies scores in his final game

I still remember being one of thousands of passionate Manly fans who converged on Manly Leagues Club. Unfortunately, I couldn't get in to celebrate with my heroes...I still have the Manly Sea Eagles flag I stole from Brookvale Bus Depot sitting pride of place in my Manly man cave.

So, when it comes to disliking opposition teams, well, it dates back to the Bulldogs beating us in the 1995 Grand Final.

Then, there was the heartbreak of 1997, that last play loss to the Knights.

As for the Storm, as much as it hurts me to say, with the maroon and white blood running through my veins, you have to respect them for the great club they have built under the Craig Bellamy dynasty.

Whether we like it or not, they have long been the bench mark that all clubs aspire to. Fortunately for us, we still have that wonderful moment of 2008 to always enjoy. Did someone say 40-0?

Fast forward to now, and we are set to write another chapter in our history with the Storm at AAMI Park tomorrow night.

Some have written us off already following the season ending loss of Tom Trbojevic. Many have already stated we can't win without 'Turbo'.

It's what we want. That backs against the wall mentality. If any team is going to fire us up, it will be Melbourne. We welcome the challenge. 

So, come kick-off tomorrow night, I will be dressed in my Manly kit, sitting on the couch with Dad ready once again to scream, shout and maybe curse, for my beloved Sea Eagles.

Kieran Foran: 250 NRL games

And maybe, this time, Dad will say 'It’s going to be OK son, we can beat them”.

Let's go boys. Fire up! 

Cheers, The One-eyed Sea Eagle!


Acknowledgement of Country

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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