'We hate you too': Why this Manly tragic has called out rival NRL fans

·Contributor
·3-min read
Manly fan Stephen Lucas poses with two police officers, while holding his sign.
Manly fan Stephen Lucas (pictured middle) has become synonymous with the club and rival fans, even police, have started asking for photos with him and his sign. (Image: Yahoo Sports Australia)

You may not be familiar with the name Stephen Lucas, but he is the man responsible for the best known sign in rugby league.

The Sea Eagles tragic has taken his "Guess what? Manly hates you too!!!" banner to just about every NRL ground in the competition, sticking it up the anti-maroon and white brigade.

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But a strange thing has been happening over the past few years.

The hate for Manly is dissipating as a new generation of supporter not weaned on stories of the Sea Eagles buying premierships and running the game emerges.

Lucas now has rival fans posing with his sign rather than wanting to tear it down.

Even cops want to be photographed with it.

And now for the final insult.

The annual NRL fans' poll asked punters: Which team do you most like to see your team beat?

That same question 20 years ago would have had Manly way out on top.

Everyone hated them.

Not these days.

Manly fan waves his banner during the round fourteen NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and North Queensland Cowboys at Brookvale Oval.
Manly fan Stephen Lucas says the Sea Eagles thrive off the resentment from other NRL teams. (Photo by Pete Dovgan/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There were four teams ahead of the Sea Eagles in the 2021 poll – Melbourne, the Roosters, Brisbane and Penrith.

And that's enraged Lucas.

"We need the hate to continue because we thrive on it," he told Yahoo Australia.

"It was always based on jealousy. Jealously is a strong emotion.

"Melbourne is now feeling that. The fact that they are on top and have been the team to beat for the last few seasons fuels the hatred, as it always has done for Manly."

Ultimately, Lucas is confident the Sea Eagles will regain their crown if they start regularly threatening for the title.

He said: "If I could go ahead in time to 2121 I would be willing to bet Melbourne would be just another team and fans would still hate Manly.

"Manly will always be hated for being more professional and much more successful than other fans’ clubs and I think that is a big difference.

"And we don’t care because we hate you too!"

Dogs left with no choice over Elliott

It seems it will be three strikes and you're out for troubled Bulldog Adam Elliott.

Canterbury general manager of football Phil Gould and consultant Steve Hansen are big on football culture and discipline and know the club cannot hope to rebuild unless everyone – from the cleaner to the CEO – are rowing in the same direction.

Adam Elliott (pictured) looks dejected after a Tigers try.
Adam Elliott's (pictured) position at the Bulldogs has come under question. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

This is not about sacking a player to free money up for the salary cap.

Punting Elliott following his White Rhino toilet incident would be the strongest sign yet Gould and the club means business, while putting all other players on notice.

If he survives, what message would that send?

Heart-breaking end for Doueihi

Anyone who's watched Wild Wests:Tales from Tigerland is left in no doubt Adam Doueihi is the heartbeat of the club.

He's not only their best and most consistent player, he doesn’t cop mediocrity and isn’t scared to let team-mates know when they’re not pulling their weight.

Doueihi's dedication to the cause should have been rewarded with something better than a scan confirming he's done his ACL for the second time and will miss at least the first three months of next season.

It's a massive blow to Michael Maguire's planned revival at the Tigers, who are set to miss the finals for a 10th straight year.

Doueihi is someone you can build a club around and, to be blunt, probably the only genuine on-field leader at the club.

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