Manly–Melbourne NRL rivalry
|Teams involved||Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
|First contested||10 July 1998|
|Number of meetings||25|
|Most wins||Melbourne Storm (13)|
|Most recent meeting||Sea Eagles 28 – 8 Storm
(31 August 2013)
|All-time series||Storm: 13 wins
Sea Eagles: 11 wins
|Largest victory||Storm – 30 points
(6 September 2003)
Sea Eagles – 40 points
(5 October 2008)
The Manly–Melbourne NRL rivalry is between two National Rugby League clubs, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the Melbourne Storm, who are engaged in a modern day rivalry. They have met 24 times since 1998, with Melbourne leading the head-to-head 13–10; there has also been a drawn match between the two sides. Additionally, they have finished three regular seasons as the top two placed sides on the premiership ladder (2007, 2008 and 2011), although in the cases of 2007 and 2008, the Storm had those minor premierships stripped from them due to the discovery of salary cap breaches in April 2010.
The Melbourne Storm and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles first met in Round 18 of the 1998 NRL season, with the Storm winning 22–12 at Olympic Park Stadium. Manly's first victory over the Storm came in Round 6 of the 2003 season, with a 20–14 victory at Brookvale Oval.
The rivalry between the two sides started to intensify in 2005, when Manly and Melbourne met in an early-season top-of-the-table clash at Brookvale Oval. Cheered on by a parochial home crowd, the Sea Eagles defeated the Storm 25–18, on their way to reaching their first finals series since 1998, and their first in an ongoing nine-year streak. This match also marked the NRL debut of Steve Matai for the Sea Eagles.
Throughout 2007, Melbourne and Manly were in a two-way tussle for top spot on the ladder for much of the season. They met only once during the regular season, in Round 11, with Manly winning a close and physical match 13–12; the match also featured two serious injuries, whereby Billy Slater copped an accidental knee from team-mate Sam Tagataese and George Rose suffered a horrific leg injury.
The two teams would later feature in the 2007 NRL Grand Final, in the first of two consecutive Grand Finals played between the two clubs. The Storm defeated the Sea Eagles 34–8 to win their second premiership, in a match which was notable for Storm enforcer Michael Crocker taking out Sea Eagles fullback Brett Stewart early in the second half with a hard, but legal tackle; however, on 22 April 2010, Melbourne would be stripped of this premiership due to the discovery of salary cap breaches throughout the courses of the 2006–10 seasons.
There were three meetings between the two clubs in 2008. Melbourne won both of their regular season meetings, including in the Grand Final replay in Round 5, and also at Brookvale Oval later in the season, though it would be the Sea Eagles who would win the match that mattered the most, the 2008 NRL Grand Final; in a rematch of the previous year's premiership decider, the Sea Eagles would record a crushing 40–0 victory to win their seventh premiership title and in the process denying the Storm back-to-back premierships. Two of Manly's standout performers on the day were Winger Michael Robertson who equaled the Grand Final record by scoring 3 tries, and Clive Churchill Medal winner, Prop-forward Brent Kite. This loss was the 3rd worst defeat in the Storms short history, and it was the first time since 1978 in which the losing team did not score a point (coincidentally, Manly also won the 1978 GF replay defeating Cronulla Sutherland 16-0 after the original GF had been drawn 11-all). Manly's 40-0 win over the Storm also broke the record winning margin for a Grand Final, beating the 38-0 win by Eastern Suburbs over St George in 1975.
The rivalry remained strong after 2008, despite there being no subsequent Grand Final meetings between the two clubs. The two teams traded victories at each other's home grounds in 2009, with the Storm winning at Brookvale Oval in Round 8 and the Sea Eagles winning in Melbourne for the first time in Round 24, before the Storm thrashed the Sea Eagles 40–12 in the qualifying final at Etihad Stadium en route to winning another premiership which would also be stripped from them due to salary cap breaches.
Manly won both of their premiership meetings in 2010, first at Etihad Stadium in Round 6 by 18–16 (in the last match before the Storm's alleged breaches of the salary cap between 2006 and 2010 were uncovered) and then at Brookvale Oval in Round 22 by 26–6. In both matches, Manly led 18–6 at half-time.
Melbourne then claimed its first victory over Manly since 2009 in Round 1, 2011 in a match in which they could compete for premiership points for the first time since that year, before Manly won a close, but brutal and violent match later in the season, known as the "Battle of Brookvale", where a minor scuffle erupted on the field between Ryan Hinchcliffe and Darcy Lussick, following which Adam Blair and Glenn Stewart were sin-binned for joining in. On their way to the dressing rooms, a major brawl erupted between the two players, which involved players and officials from both sides; the two subsequently had their sin-bin punishments upgraded to a send off, meaning they would take no further part in the match. This was the first match attended by David Gallop of either side since suspending Brett Stewart from the first four weeks of the 2009 season for a sexual assault charge for which he would later be exonerated, and since stripping the Storm of two premiership titles and three minor premiership titles for salary cap breaches; extra security was hired for his presence at the game. Of the match itself, Gallop said:
The sight of so many players from both teams fighting, of people running in and leaving the bench area, was an horrendous look for the game.
In the immediate fallout from the match, both teams were fined $50,000 each and a total of ten players were charged by the NRL judiciary system. At the conclusion of the season, Melbourne and Manly finished as the top two teams on the premiership ladder for the third time in five years. They had seemed destined to face each other in the Grand Final, but whilst the Sea Eagles did ultimately make the decider (and went on to win), the Storm were stopped in their tracks in the preliminary final stage by the New Zealand Warriors, thus denying what could have been a third Storm vs. Sea Eagles Grand Final in five years.
The two teams met only twice in 2012, with Melbourne winning both times; first a very close match at Brookvale Oval in Round 15 by 26–22, followed by a crushing 40–12 victory in the preliminary final at AAMI Park which ended the Sea Eagles' premiership defence and ultimately set Melbourne up to win their second valid premiership and first since the salary cap breaches.
Their first meeting in 2013, in Round 10, produced the first draw between the two clubs, with the final score being 10–all. They met again later in the season, in Round 25, with Manly winning 28–8.
Head to Head
|Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles||25||11||1||13||430||505||-75|
This table only includes competitive matches, excluding all pre-season trials
- This table only shows competitive matches, and not pre-season or exhibition matches. Scores list home team first
- Note: Grand Finals are not taken into consideration here.
- Highest attendance:
- Lowest attendance:
- Melbourne Storm at home: 10,020 – Melbourne Storm 40 – 10 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Round 26, 2003
- Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at home: 7,084 – Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 18 – 19 Melbourne Storm, Round 17, 1999
Players who represented both clubs
|Player||Melbourne Storm career||Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles career|
- Melbourne Storm vs. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Head-to-Head Rugby League Project
- Melbourne Storm stripped of everything The Age
- Melbourne Storm vs. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles match summary, Round 18, 1998 Rugby League Project
- Knights down Sharks, Eagles edge Storm ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
- Sea Eagles continue their perfect start ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
- Sea Eagles prevail against Storm ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
- Sea Eagles win a thriller at Brookvale League Unlimited
- "Dragons decimated by four more injuries". The Age. 28 May 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-29.
- Melbourne Storm win brutal NRL final from Manly Perth Now
- Manly maul Melbourne 40-0 to win 2008 NRL grand final The Courier-Mail
- "Manly thump Storm 40–0 in grand final". NRL.com. 5 October 2008. Archived from the original on 8 October 2008. Retrieved 5 October 2008.
- Storm leave Sea Eagles in the mire ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
- Manly defeat Melbourne Storm 20-16 at Olympic Park The Australian
- Melbourne Storm demolish Manly Sea Eagles 40-12 in qualifying final The Australian
- Manly Sea Eagles ambush Melbourne Storm for upset victory Fox Sports Australia
- Manly defeat Melbourne Storm 26-6 in NRL match at Brookvale Oval Fox Sports Australia
- Melbourne Storm start new season with drafting 18-6 victory over Manly at AAMI Park Fox Sports Australia
- Jackson, Glenn (27 August 2011). "Battle of Brookie set to take toll on big guns' title assault". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- Honeysett, Stuart (24 August 2011). "Security for David Gallop at Brookvale". The Australian. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- Ritchie, Dean (29 August 2011). "Manly Sea Eagles and Melbourne Storm fined $50,000 each and 10 players charged by NRL judiciary after 'Battle of Brookie'". The Daily Telegraph (Australia). Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- New Zealand Warriors upset Melbourne Storm to reach the NRL Grand Final The Courier Mail
- Storm beat Manly 26-22 in NRL The Roar
- Melbourne Storm thrash Manly Sea Eagles in 2012 NRL preliminary final Herald Sun
- Melbourne Storm and Manly Sea Eagles play out thrilling 10-10 draw at AAMI Park Fox Sports Australia
- Sea Eagles cruise to victory in battle of Brookvale, smh.com.au, 31 August 2013
- Storm v Manly History Melbourne Storm Official Website