A rivalry for the ages
As the nib Newcastle Knights prepare to take on the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at Lottoland for the annual Malcolm Reilly Challenge Trophy, Knights TV takes a look back at where the Club’s biggest rivalry all began.
It was supposed to be a meaningless trial match, but the 1988 Herald Challenge Cup became so much more.
“It started way back in our first game we ever played as the Knights,” Paul ‘Chief’ Harragon explained to Knights TV.
“Manly had won the grand final the year before, they were feeling pretty good and they came to Newcastle for a trial thinking happy days this is going to be easy."
Against a star studded Manly line-up including the likes of Paul Vautin, Des Hasler and Michael O’Connor, Newcastle were expected to be easy beats.
But the Knights had other ideas in front of a rowdy home crowd of 21,000.
“We didn’t take it as a trial, the boys absolutely smashed and pulverised them and the rivalry was born,” smiled Harragon.
That day the Knights claimed a 24-12 victory, a moment etched in Club history.
“Geographically and socio-economically there was a big difference between what you called the Silvertails and Newcastle, which was very much a working-class town” said Harragon.
“Over the years it just grew and grew and by the early 90s we dead set hated each other and that’s how it was.
“The one good thing about rivalry is that it always brings the best out of you and takes you to new levels.”