Manly's rivalry with NRL premiers Melbourne is one of the fiercest in the game, but coach Geoff Toovey says any suggestion the two clubs hate each other is crazy.
The two sides, both coming off losses, have been the dominant forces in the NRL for the past decade and the bad blood between them has spilled over on occasion.
There's the 2007 premiership, where Melbourne thrashed Manly 34-8 only to later be stripped for salary cap breaches, Manly's 40-0 premiership retribution the following season and 2011's infamous Battle of Brookvale.
It's a rivalry built on a foundation of spiteful clashes.
"That's crazy," Toovey said on Wednesday.
The only thing Toovey hates right now is his team's mounting injury toll leading into one of the toughest games of the season.
The Sea Eagles will likely be without co-captain Jason King for the remainder of the season after he undergoes surgery on the rotator cuff in his shoulder on Thursday.
His injury adds to that of Brett Stewart (back, four weeks) and Joe Galuvao (Achilles, season), on top of the lengthy suspension dished out to forward Richie Fa'aoso, who won't be back until round 18.
"We're really injury ravaged at the moment," Toovey said.
"If you look at it that way it's probably a good time (for Melbourne) to meet us."
Confrontational second-rower Anthony Watmough says the feeling between the two sides has faded since the Battle of Brookvale in 2011 - where a brawl erupted on the sideline.
"We all know the rivalry there," Watmough said.
"I think that's all long gone, that sort of foul play.
"It's just a good hard game of footy that we like to play week in, week out against each other now.
"... Everyone hates us. (But Melbourne is) just another game for us.
"Back then there was a lot of hype around everything and the last couple of years it sort of died down a bit.
"There's been some good battles over the years. There's no doubt this is going to be another good one."
After Melbourne's shock loss to Penrith on Sunday, which followed an equally surprising loss to Canberra the week previous, Storm coach Craig Bellamy accused his side of losing the passion for the game.
That spells danger to Watmough, who thinks the Storm are an even more dangerous proposition than when had they been riding their lengthy 15-game winning run.
"That's probably the dangerous thing," he said.
"We're coming off a loss, they're coming off a loss and both teams are desperate.
"So they're going to be looking long and hard like we are.
"... They've only lost two games. If you're asking me if they've lost their edge, definitely no.
"They've probably been unlucky the last couple of games and teams have had to play well to beat them.
"In my point of view, and to the Manly club, they're probably up their with the best teams in the comp still."
Pain lingers for Sea Eagles as Storm gathers
by: Brent Read
From: The Australian
EVEN now, it still hurts. Eight months have passed but the nature of last year's finals defeat at the hands of Melbourne still lingers with the Manly players.
It was a night which ended the club's hopes of back-to-back premierships. That was painful, but nowhere near as much as the way they performed. The Sea Eagles saved their worst for last.
On Monday night, Manly returns to AAMI Park for the first time since that defeat.
"We left the worst for last, which was probably disappointing because there is no redemption after that," prop Brent Kite said.
"Such a big game with an old rival and it was just letting ourselves down. I was pretty gutted. I thought we were going along pretty well.
"That one and the Bulldogs final, reflecting on the season, were just a bit disappointing. We were just off a bit in our ball handling and stuff, the things that make it difficult in finals."
Five-eighth Kieran Foran admits memories of that night have trickled back this week.
"It does bring memories of that semi-final game last year," he said.
"I think it will be in some of the boys' minds. It will certainly be in the back of mine.
"One game away from the grand final, a chance to go back-to-back and you produce that sort of performance.
"It just wasn't good enough. I just remember in the sheds after that game everyone was shattered. We completely capitulated to be honest . . . the harder we tried, the worse it got. I don't think we want that to happen again."
Foran admits he still can't explain what happened.
"Everyone was fresh, everyone was fired up," he said.
"There was quite a few of us carrying injuries but nothing unlike what we normally do. I still can't put my finger on what happened that game but all I can put it down to was I think the first three or four sets we turned it over and it got worse from there.
"It popped in (my head) the other day just thinking about going down there and playing again. I had a think about it and thought it would be nice to turn things around down there, go down there and get a good win, and come home thinking about it."
It shapes as another chapter in what is one of the NRL's most gripping modern-day rivalries. The Storm and Sea Eagles have been perennial finalists in recent years. They appear headed that way again, both sitting comfortably in the top four, albeit after losing last weekend.
In the Storm's case, it was its second loss in succession -- a defeat which prompted Craig Bellamy to question his side's hunger. Manly remains on guard. If any team is going to bring out the best in the Storm, it is Manly.
"Melbourne-Manly games bring about their own expectation and just that alone gets me up for a game," Kite said.
"We do have a fair history with them. The modern day it's been one of the better ones, I think."