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The story behind the Mal Reilly Trophy

Adding to the intense rivalry of our clash with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles is the chance to play for a prestigious piece of silverware.

Each season the nib Newcastle Knights and Sea Eagles battle it out for the Mal Reilly Trophy in tribute to the legendary former player and coach.

The trophy is officially up for grabs in the first encounter between the two Clubs each season.

The Knights will look to defend their title this Thursday when they take on the arch-rival.

As the trophy's namesake suggests, Malcolm 'Mal' Reilly played a monumental role at both clubs.

The Englishman started his playing career at Castleford and was apart of the Great Britain side which won the Ashes series in 1970.

Later on that year, Reilly represented Great Britain at the World Cup before joining Manly in 1971.

The lock forward went onto play a key part in Manly's back-to-back premiership years of 1972 and 1973.

After a successful playing career, Reilly ventured into the coaching ranks.

Identical to his playing days, the Yorkshireman started at Castleford before stints at Leeds and Halifax.

Reilly also coached Great Britain in 42 Tests.

In 1995, Reilly made his way to Newcastle to take up the head coaching position at the Knights.

Reilly was an instant success winning his first nine games in charge.

The side went from 10th to a Preliminary Final in the coach's first season.

'Mal' would further cement his spot in the Knights history books due to a fateful day in 1997.

Reilly became the first coach to lead the Club to a premiership after the 22-16 win over Manly in the 1997 Grand Final.

The former coach also coached the side to one game shy of the big dance in 1998.

After four seasons at the helm, Reilly returned to England at the conclusion of the '98 season.

'Mal' will forever be known as the first coach to take the red and blue to premiership glory.

The Knights will honour his incredible time at the Club when they take on their old foe.

The side will look to defend their title after downing the Sea Eagles 18-10 last season.