It was one of, if not the most bitter feud in rugby league.
It was beyond a rivalry but for Newcastle and Manly supporters, it was magic.
The hatred between Paul ‘The Chief’ Harragon and Mark ‘Spudd’ Carroll is synonymous with the game.
It’s a thing of legend.
And it was during the height of the rivalry in the late 90s that the prop unleashed and led the Knights to premiership glory in 1997.
“We were all getting ready and Malcolm Reilly addressed the team and then left the room,” Johns said on The Matty Johns Podcast.
“Chief said: ‘Everybody get in. he said nobody gets sent off in a grand final. Just follow me today’.
“He went out there and the mad dog, the young bull returned and he just went crazy for 80 minutes.
“That 1997 Grand Final he allowed himself to go back to his old ways and one of the reasons we won it was because, if you look at the back end of the game … the physical punishment that the (Manly forwards) took at the hands of Chief.”
Long before that glorious day in 97, the hatred between the two gladiators was at fever pitch.
So much so that Johns recalls being on tour with the Australian Test team and getting friendly with Carroll.
The issue was even though they were all wearing the green and gold, the rivalry was not on hold.
“I remember sitting on the bus one day after we played South Africa and Chief had played with a broken cheekbone and his tour was basically finished,” he said.
“He was sitting about three seats behind me and I was sitting and joking around with Spudd.
“I turned around and Chief was just staring a hole in me. At that point I realised how deep it went.
“He took it really personal that I was sitting and joking with Spudd.”
It even filtered into State of Origin while representing the Blues.
“I didn’t realise how bad it was and I would say it got to the point in the mid-90s where it was hate between Chief and Spudd,” Johns said.
“They roomed together in the 1995 Origin series and they just never spoke at all.
“Spudd would say he would wake up in the middle of the night with his fists clenched because he was dreaming about Chief.”