The Knights legend Manly almost snared

Close your eyes and try and picture Steve Simpson in a maroon Manly jersey.

It would be like wearing a denim jacket with golf pants. It just isn’t right.

But that didn’t stop the silver-tails from attempting to lure the workhorse out of the hunter.

We all know the bitter rivalry that exists between Newcastle and Manly.

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The history has and always will be there.

Chief and Spudd, the 97 grand final was another chapter and later the exit of Ben Kennedy to the Sea Eagles kept the flame ignited.

But Kennedy wasn’t the only Club legend the Sea Eagles were attempting to get hold of.

It was mid 2006 when Test and Origin backrower Simpson was being heavily pursued by Des Hasler.

“I think it was at the end of the 2006 year,” Simpson told the Our Town Our Team podcast.  

“We had just had a really good year, we had made the finals and top four.

“Dessy Hasler at Manly was one, they were really keen.”  

Kennedy was poised to hang up the boots at the end of the year and the Sea Eagles were seeking a rugged ball runner to replace the bald enforcer.

That’s where Simpson came in.

With a clause in his Newcastle contract which stated he could walk away from the final year of his deal in 2007 if he played six State of Origin games, Simpson attracted tons of attention.

While plenty of Clubs reached out to the backrower, ultimately, he stayed faithful and re-signed with the Knights.

The deal ensured he’d remain a one-club man.

When Simpson retired at the end of the 2010 season, he knew he’d squeeze everything out of his body, with a chronic knee injury forcing him to hang up the boots.

“I started to get a few injuries,” Simpson added.

“My knee was starting to get sore after every sort of game I played and it was building up.

“I remember one of the last games I played, it was against the Tigers and we were warming up and I remember saying to one of the trainers, ‘my knee feels like crap’.

“It just got to the point where it was sore all the time and it became really hard work to get on the field.”