You don’t have to be a supporter of the nib Newcastle Knights to know about their feud with Manly.

They’re bitter rivals.

Always have been and always will be.

But where did the feud start?

It dates back to the very begging of the Knights. It was 1988 and the Knights were ready for their debut season.

Before kicking off the season proper, they had a trial match against a star-studded Sea Eagles.

The likes of Cliff Lyons, Dale Shearer, Michael O'Connor, Noel Cleal and Des Hasler were on show but the Knights left them stunned with a 24-12 victory.

For Knights Old Boy Clint Newton, he believes former coach Malcom Reilly was partly responsible.

“It goes back to when Malcom was coach,” Newton said.

“He was always considered a really tough English player and we always respected that. Dad was always a historian when it came to rugby league and had a great respect for Mal.

“Some of my earliest memories were watching him punch Steve Crowe’s lights out in the gym.

“Mal instilled a great deal of passion, desire and accountability in this team and that led us to winning our first ever grand final in 1997.”

The Knights and Sea Eagles battle for the annual Malcolm Reilly Challenge Trophy once a year which is currently in possession of the red and blue.

Reilly played 89 games for Manly from 1971 to 1975 where he won two premierships before coaching the Knights to their first premiership victory against his former Club in 1997.

He was responsible for bringing a hard edge to the Knights, so it’s fitting that the battles between the Club’s often go down to the wire.

“When you talk about Mal Reilly, you talk about toughness, those two go together so well,” Buderus said.

“He’s one of the great English players to come across and had so much of an affect at Manly and Newcastle.

“His feats on the field for Manly where amazing and then he came up here as a coach and when Newcastle won their maiden grand final in 97

“The cup between the two arch rivals, so much history, it ticks a box for having a trophy being named after him.”

While the rivalry has links to Reilly, both Buderus and Newton believe the height of the feud between the Club’s centred around the big men.

The battles between Chief and Spud were infamous.

Paul Harragon was the Knights’ leader and Mark Carroll was the opposition’ enforcer. They were fierce enemies and you could guarantee there would be fireworks whenever they clashed.

“Chief didn’t like what Manly were about,” Buderus said.

“Our first ever game in 1988 was against Manly at the international sports centre.

“That time Chief ran out to take Spud out, he wanted to take one for the team.”

Newton added; “I was there the night Chief and Spud went at it.

“Chief was one of my favourite players and you were riding every hit, every collision. When Chief got hit and knocked out, even though I was only 12 at the time, you wanted to jump out of the crowd and go after Spud because Chief just meant so much to our town and me as a supporter.

“All that transpired into us beating them in 97. To do it in the fashion we did, I was there with my family. I remember it was such a euphoric feeling.”

When Ben Kennedy left for the Sea Eagles, the feud continued and while the feelings of yesteryear aren’t at fever pitch levels, there’s no denying this game is one the Knights always get up for.

History: Round 5, 2019 - Sea Eagles d Knights 26-18, Round 8, 2018 – Knights d Sea Eagles 18-12, Round 1, 2018 – Knights d Sea Eagles 19-18 at McDonald Jones Stadium. Round 14, 2017 Sea Eagles d Knights 18-14 at Brookvale Oval. Round 8, 2016 Sea Eagles d Knights 26-10 at Hunter Stadium. Round 9, 2015 Sea Eagles d Knights 30-10 at Brookvale Oval.