An amusing read, well written for a Dragons fan: -------------------------------------------------------- http://www.smh.com.au/news/sport/i-know-its-hard-to-get-behind-manly-but-just-think-of-the-beaver/2008/10/03/1223013791022.html Alex Brown October 4, 2008 HERE we go again, Manly and Melbourne. And how do you feel? A little torn, most likely. For the majority of folks residing between the Manly and Mornington peninsulas, these Sea Eagles-Storm grand finals are like trying to pick between a post-op Anakin Skywalker, whom you have detested for light years, and Morris Iemma, that more recent thumper, bumper, pick-em-up and dumper of NSW prosperity. This is not an argument based on ability. Both sides have played a captivating, and occasionally decapitating, brand of rugby league for several years now, and thoroughly deserve their place at Homebush Bay tomorrow. No, this is about emotion; about trying to disseminate the evil from the Diet Coke of evil (apologies to Mike Myers) when your own team has Mad Mondayed its way into the abyss long before. Last year, the task was all but impossible. The Silvertails versus the Low-Pressure Systems is hardly a contest to get the pulse racing, with little in the way of bad blood or ancient grudges to draw upon. And when the grand final turned into a contest more one-way than York Street, only the truest of believers could claim to have had an emotional attachment to the moment Cam Smith hoisted the trophy after Melbourne's thumping 34-8 win. But times are changing. Since Smith mistook Sam Thaiday's head for a twist-top out of the aforementioned Tooheys commercial, and Craig Bellamy broke every one of the Matlock commandments by haranguing the judiciary members, Melbourne have seemed as popular as Lehman Brothers stock. Add to that the Storm's three straight minor premierships, three straight grand final appearances and three straight wins over Manly, and it's little wonder the green-eyed Sydney league community views them with a level of disaffection once reserved for those previous interstate marauders, the Broncos, in the early '90s. To them, bad things come in threes these days. Even telephone prefixes. Few tears were shed when Melbourne were upstaged by the Warriors in the opening week of the finals, and again when Brisbane pushed them to the brink of elimination a game later. A creaking superpower receives little sympathy at the best of times, but even less so in the case of Melbourne, whose constituents have yet to open their hearts to this rugby league juggernaut, and still wonder why the topless ruckman is hugging the crumber on the NRL trophy. This leaves Sydneysiders in a bit of a quandary. If the Storm possess the warmth-and-cuddle factor of a Wall Street banker, that leaves only Manly. And given that the majority of us have been programmed to view Brookvale as the root of all rugby league evil, the very notion of cheering the Sea Eagles in a grand final should feel as foreign as Sarah Palin in a Vladivostok speakeasy. So why isn't it proving so difficult? How can the Sea Eagles be thawing hearts that, for generations, have been frozen towards them? Sydney-Melbourne rivalry may have something to do with it, and perhaps, too, the underdog tag (Manly have lost twice to the Storm this season). But the far more compelling reason appears to be the swan song of a Manly luminary, a player so talented and decent that even the most embittered Bears supporter sees only the white, and not the maroon, when he pulls on the jersey. Precious few league fans would begrudge Steve Menzies a "Mr Motion comes sliding in, and the whole crowd begins to sing" moment to round out his storied Australian career. Though he has run roughshod over our defences - never better than when off the shoulder of Cliff Lyons - and repelled more attacking raids than the Western Front, Menzies has employed a style and grace on the field that has endeared him to all and set him apart, even during the murky days of Super League. A victory in his record-equalling 349th first-grade game could hardly be a more fitting reward. That leaves just one logical conclusion, then. Which is all well and good but, as we can all appreciate, logic and emotion don't always go hand in glove. So, please, spare this broken-down Dragons fan a few moments while he prepares a two-word sentence he never considered possible until this week. C'mon. You can do this. A deep breath and just spit out the words. One, two, three Ã¢Â€Â¦ Go, Manly!