No one will ever forget the day Parramatta fans were tossing coins towards Manly centre Jamie Lyon three years after leaving them high and dry for retirement.
Eight years on and the Eels are still throwing the money at Manly players, this time pinching star five-eighth Kieran Foran on a lucrative deal beginning from next season.
Sunday’s showdown between the long-time rivals at Brookvale Oval will be the first time Foran suits up against the club he signed with back in July.
And while the Manly faithful aren’t expected to be flinging their hard-earned at one of their own, it’s created an intriguing backdrop to a clash the Sea Eagles need to win to stay in the finals hunt.
Lose and their run of 10 straight finals appearances comes to an end.
The eighth-placed St George-Illawarra outfit stayed one win ahead of the 9th-placed Sea Eagles with an unconvincing win over Penrith on Thursday night.
Their easy finish to the year – they play Wests Tigers and Gold Coast – is in stark contrast to Manly’s final fortnight against the Sydney Roosters and Cronulla.
“We knew we put ourselves in that position several months ago,” coach Geoff Toovey said.
“It was always going to be tough. All we can do is control our fate and just keep winning.
“Hopefully we get a bit of luck on the way as well.”
Toovey has kept the same 17 that got home on the buzzer in Canberra last week with a try that referees boss Tony Archer later said shouldn’t have been given.
Meanwhile, the Eels copped yet another major blow to the midriff with hooker Nathan Peats breaking his neck in a loss to the Sydney Roosters last week.
Isaac De Gois deputises in the No. 9, although the still-unsigned Will Hopoate returns to the backline.
Rookie Daniel Alvaro joins the bench.
STATS THAT MATTER
* Four of Manly’s past five wins have been by 20 points or more.
* Since round 17, Manly has outscored its opponent 50-8 in the opening 20 minutes.
* Parramatta has lost four of their past five, with all four losses by double figure margins.
* Former Eel Feleti Mateo plays his 200th game.