It’s a rivalry that only dates back a decade – but a rivalry nonetheless, that has had a bad habit of spilling over into fist fights.
After the infamous toe-to-toe clash between Sea Eagles forward Glenn Stewart and Melbourne rival Adam Blair, a wild brawl broke out between the rival teams, trading grand final wins over each other in 2007 and 2008.
To add further insult to injury, Manly’s marketing towards this Saturday’s clash gears toward their 2008 grand final demolition of the Storm, selling shirts and merchandise branded “40-nil” to commemorate the club’s biggest triumph over Melbourne.
Storm hooker Brandon Smith said he’s prepared for another lively encounter, but won’t succumb to bait-punches or taunts from opponents and fans.
“I don’t think the anger is there – that didn’t work too well for us last game, as you could tell by the scoreboard,” Smith told nrl.com.au.
“I think we’ll just worry about our own game and own performance.
“Melbourne really tell us about the history that Manly and the Storm have.”
Smith is set to play his 14th game of the year during the clash, lapping up a breakout year in the NRL. The star 22-year-old is savouring the opportunity to learn under the likes of Cameron Smith, both on and off the field during the Origin period.
“He just shows that leadership and how he makes everyone around him a lot better player and person as well,” Smith said.
“He’s always giving you tips and tricks. There’s no-one really like him that I’ve ever played with.