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globalrugbyleague - Fri, 06 Apr 2007 08:20:00 GMT
The start of another new season brings back a lot of great memories for the GRL traitor.

It seems like only yesterday that I was arguing with a security guard outside a football stadium why it was part of my national duty to throw the other teams flag into a wheelie bin.

Wasn’t that long ago either that I had a meat pie thrown at my head after I started yelling out ‘We are invincible, invincible I tells ya” after my team flogged the other club by 40-points.

People might say “it’s only a game” before the match but believe me a big loss is enough to ruin your weekend and the start of your working week.

Especially if it’s against a club that makes you want to take up polka dancing full-time rather then watch them rule the roost.

Still nothing beats sitting on the hill during an away game and giving the finger to the army of rival fans who’ve just seen their team get beaten by yours.

Truly there is nothing quite like the smell of fear as you run home with about 2000 angry supporters trying to re-enact the Earl Park riot of 1928 at your expense.

The word ‘rivalry’ unfortunately has become one of those compulsory pieces of vernacular that your typical Rugby League journalist cannot go one or two weeks without using.

Every team all of a sudden has developed a mysterious disliking for each other. Halfback Joe Bloggs now wants to beat the Sydney Gorillas because they once made him the water boy.

Someone clearly needs to define what a real rivalry is so that it stops becoming a weekly axiom being brought out every time two teams take the field.

You want to know what a real rivalry is? Then check out the traitors top ten best NRL rivalries of all-time.

1. South Sydney V Eastern Suburbs
These two foundation clubs have never really liked each other. Both sides compete heavily for local junior players while in recent years the Roosters have also been able to sway many high-profile off-contract NRL stars over to Bondi and usually at the expense of the red and green. But now the pendulum is swinging and the Rabbitohs under new owners Peter Holmes a’ Court and Russell Crowe are reversing that trend. It is often the case that when one of these teams is doing well, the other struggles. Roosters fans would not be happy to know that it is one of their former stars, Joe Williams, who is helping bring back the wins to South Sydney. This rivalry will never die.

2. Parramatta V Canterbury
Since 1947, these teams have played each other 118 times with the Bulldogs dominating on 64 wins to the Eels’ 49. This feud didn’t ignite until the early 80’s when the Eels enjoyed a golden reign under Jack Gibson from 1981-83. Canterbury turned up in 1984 and spoiled the party with a 6-4 win in the Grand Final while blue and white fans held signs up at the SCG purporting that “Parra are scum!”. The verbal battles between the late Kevin Moore and current Eels CEO Denis Fitzgerald were highly entertaining with Moore once saying “Parramatta have a good coach and a good team but their CEO has a big mouth.” A quality rivalry that continues to churn out huge tv ratings and massive attendances.


3. St George V Brisbane

The Broncos back to back wins over the Dragons in 1992-93 remains a very sour talking point amongst most members of the Red V army to this day. Allan Langer’s venture into song development didn’t help relations between the two clubs when the little general orchestrated fans into a singing an ad-lib song titled “St George can’t play”. The song was not a hit amongst inconsolable Dragons fans who to this day are still seething about that. Nothing would make the Dragons feel better then to either defeat the Broncos in a Grand Final or eliminate them from one.

4. Melbourne V Parramatta

Eels CEO Denis Fitzgerald as you have probably gathered by now is not one to hold back on his opinions. But in many instances he doesn’t win a lot of friends with them. He didn’t in win any in Victoria in 2004 when he proclaimed to the Daily Telegraph that promoting the NRL in Melbourne was similar to "promoting beach volleyball in Iceland". Since making those comments, the Eels have lost four times to the Storm and beaten them only once. Controversy is never far away when these teams play. Who could forget former Eels star Lee Hopkins handing Melbourne a free penalty goal 5 metres out from the Parramatta line and right in front of the posts after holding down Billy Slater for too long inside the last minute of play in 2003? It’s doubtful blue and gold fans will erase the video hreferee incorrectly ruling ‘no try’ to former lock Glenn Morrison during the first week of the finals last season either when in fact the ball appeared to be grounded as was shown in the following day’s papers. This is one rivalry that is always entertaining.


5. Canterbury V Eastern Suburbs
To this day, many Canterbury supporters believe that had they played the Roosters in the 2002 Grand Final and not the Warriors, a title would’ve been delivered to Belmore sooner rather then later. Post-salary cap problems, the Bulldogs then suffered a humiliating 28-18 loss to the Roosters one game shy of the Grand Final. Canterbury however got their revenge when they dealt the boys from Bondi a second Grand Final loss in a row in 2004. Sydney City then to the disappointment of many blue and white fans purchased the services of talent Dogs five-eighth Braith Anasta and eventually prop Nate Myles. With Mark O’Meley rumoured to be on the verge of heading East, the Belmore Brigade will be eagerly anticipating their round 16 clash to make a point.

6. Manly V Western Suburbs

Defeating the Magpies 14-7 to advance into the 1978 Grand Final and then swooping down on four of the Western Suburb’s finest players in the form of Les Boyd, Ray Brown, John Dorahy and John Ribot was great fuel for the ‘Fibros versus silvertails’ theme that symbolised the clashes these two teams had in the late 70’s and early 1980’s. Ugly brawls between these two teams were common when Roy Masters was at the helm of the Magpies. The problem with this feud was that Manly regularly beat the Pies when it really counted at the business end of the season. The results were a bit too lopsided but the essence of this rivalry held a nice socially divisive charm to which helped add that extra bit of pepper before their matches.


7. Cronulla V St George-Illawarra

This suburban rivalry like the Eels and the Dogs is usually a test to see how the other team is performing. Most recently second-rower Lance Thompson left the Dragons in controversial circumstances only to rejuvenate his career with the Sharks. That didn’t leave a good taste in the mouth of many Dragons fans. The Sharks then gave Stuart Raper, son of Dragons legend Johnny Raper his marching orders and that probably didn’t impress some in red and white quarters either. Neither side has won a Grand Final which means there is a race to be the first team to bring a title back to the south of Sydney.

8. Melbourne V Brisbane
Melbourne cannot be happy that Brisbane cost them their second title in the first interstate Grand Final in 2006. That is sure to fire up the bellies of the Victorians when they play them in rounds 7 and 22. These two teams enjoy spirited, tight contests minus the irregular blowout (usually in favour of the Storm). The Storm’s feeder club in North Queensland, Brisbane Norths has produced a lot of talent that the Broncos would love to have got their hands on including Billy Slater. Coach Craig Bellamy did his apprenticeship under Wayne Bennett but wants to get rid of the ‘student’ tag that the media have given him. There is only one way he can do that. By winning a title. You wouldn’t want to bet on the Broncos if they had to play the Storm again in this year’s Grand Final. Sparks would definitely fly.

9. New Zealand V Canberra

Picture it. The year is 1995 and Ruben Wiki has signed two contracts to play for both Canberra and New Zealand with the issue going before a court hearing which was eventually settled. The result? The Warriors had to wait 10-years before unarguably one of the toughest Kiwi representative players returned to the fold. Although history does cover old wounds, there was plenty of agro and feeling between fans of both teams at the time with some fans even resorting to chucking eggs at Wiki. The rivalry saw the Warriors get the better of the Raiders when it mattered by eliminating them from the finals twice in 2002-03.


10. Cowboys V Broncos

For a majority of their first decade in the NRL, the cowboys could not find a way to beat the bigger, tougher and more successful Brisbane Broncos either at home or on the road. The Broncos were accustomed to keeping their cousins to the North in their shadow. That all ended on September 18, 2004 when after 14 losses and two draws, the Townsville troops scored their first win ever over the Broncos. Since that day, the Cowboys have taken to beating Brisbane by some fairly big margins early in the season. However the Broncos did something last season the Cowboys probably should’ve done in 2005 and that’s win a Grand Final. In the title stakes, it remains Broncos 6 Cowboys nil. North Queensland fans are desperate to re-write that record and show their football cousins, “anything you can do, we can do better.” - Read More, Here