''As soon as I heard it was the Bulldogs, the headline of 'Two tribes go to war' came straight to my mind because there is so much bad blood there.''
That was the reaction of Lieutenant-Colonel Rod Farrar, a lifelong Manly fan
, when he learnt who the Sea Eagles opponents would be for a game in which they will wear his company's name emblazoned across a one-off camouflage jersey in honour of Anzac Day.
''Right from the get go, when the sponsorship was first offered to me, I just thought 'how symbolic is this','' Farrar said. ''Every team has their bitter rivals and we just seem to have added another one to our list.''
Farrar, who served in Iraq in 2004, has presented a special memento containing sand from Gallipoli to the Manly player he considers best demonstrates the army values of teamwork, courage and initiative in the Anzac round match for the past three seasons.
This year his company, Paladin Risk Management Services, will also be the Sea Eagles major sponsor for Friday night's game. Farrar said the fact it was against the club that poached Des Hasler held special significance.
''This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,'' he said. ''It is the perfect blend of my service in the army for 20 years and the passion I have had for the club.''