'They rooted us': North Sydney Bears feeling no love from Manly

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Bears fans, pictured here at North Sydney Oval.
Peter Peters doesn't like North Sydney's chances of being reinstated. Image: Getty

Anyone who knows anything about the fierce rivalry between North Sydney and Manly won't be surprised to learn the Sea Eagles aren't currently reaching for the placards and strapping on their boots to march the streets demanding the Bears' return to the NRL.

For all the feel-good romanticism surrounding Norths' latest bid to re-join the competition, Manly is unlikely to reach out the hand of friendship and back its old dance partner's return to the floor.

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Manly was formed in 1947 after Norths gave up some of their territory to allow the newcomer to enter the NSW Rugby League competition.

The fox was now in the henhouse.

The Sea Eagles repaid the Bears by lauding it over them for the next half century, pinching players and premierships in equal doses.

So when the two clubs announced they were forming the Northern Eagles joint venture in 2000, it signalled the greatest marriage of inconvenience since Elton John ventured down the aisle with Renate Blauel.

It made as much sense as a butcher employing a vegan.

As one old Bears official said: "It was like living with a black widow spider.

"The marriage was never consummated but Manly still rooted us."

The Sea Eagles argued North Sydney was never interested in making it work and the clubs would be better off without each other, eventually annulling the marriage in 2002 with the NRL licence handed to the Sea Eagles.

The two parties have barely spoken a word since, but the animosity remains.

Northern Eagles players, pictured here during a game against Wests Tigers.
Northern Eagles players celebrate a try during a game against Wests Tigers. (Photo by Nick Laham/ALLSPORT/Getty)

Peter Peters doesn't like North Sydney's chances

Former Manly official and chief Bears antagonist Peter 'Zorba' Peters has read the feel-good stories around North Sydney's latest bid for reinstatement.

It took him all of two seconds to unload.

"Everyone's being nice to them but being nice in professional sport doesn’t get you anywhere," he told Yahoo Australia.

"They last won a comp in 1922 and that will be the last comp they win.

"It's gone. They won't be back.

"They've got as much chance of being in the NRL as I have of flying to the moon backwards on a sky rocket from NASA."

Norths feel their odds are slightly better than that – not withstanding Zorba's pull with NASA – and plan to 'do a South Sydney' by taking their protest to the streets in the hope people power prompts the NRL to act.

Asked how many he thought would turn up, Peters replied: "Five hundred…most of them with walking sticks.

"Two hundred if it rains."

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