Nathan Brown has compared his sideline slap on Trent Barrett to another slice of Dragons folklore, Graham Langlands wearing white boots in 1975 grand final.
Newcastle mentor Brown goes head-to-head with rookie Manly counterpart Barrett for the first time in the Anzac Day NRL clash at Hunter Stadium on Monday.
It will be the first time they have crossed paths as head coaches since then St George Illawarra coach Brown slapped his Dragons five-eighth Barrett on the WIN Stadium sideline during a close match in 2003.
Brown refused to answer questions about The Slap in the lead-up to the match, telling reporters at a press conference in Newcastle on Tuesday: “Any questions about Trent Barrett and she’s all over”.
However Brown was in a more expansive mood in an interview with Channel Nine’s Sunday Footy Show.
“That was a part of me growing as a coach, some of those things will always come back up and the incident with Baz everyone is going to have a field day with it,” Brown said.
“I understand that because if you look at Graham Langlands, who is one of our immortals, people tend to talk more about his white boots than they tend to talk about the million Tests he played and how great a player he was.
“In Australia we tend to look for people’s mistakes as opposed to the great things that people may or may not do.”
However Brown said he learned plenty from his experience.
“There are things I have done as a coach that I wished I didn’t do but it is not about having regrets, it is about learning from the experience and getting better,” Brown said.
“The thing about being an experienced coach as opposed to a young coach, you just get it right a lot more times than you do getting it wrong.”
Brown’s Knights go into the match on the back of a 53-0 hiding from Brisbane and have notched just a win and a draw this year.
Both of those wins were at home for 15th-placed Newcastle.
Manly, who sit 12th with a 3-4 record, lost to Parramatta 22-10 last start.
Danny Levi, Jeremy Smith and Mickey Paea return for the home side.
Matt Parcell and Brenton Lawrence are back from injury for the Sea Eagles. Jorge Taufua (collarbone) is out and Brayden Wiliame comes onto the wing for him.
* Manly have won eight of the last 10 matches between the sides, Newcastle victorious in just one of the last seven
* The Knights have only scored 15 tries in seven games this season
* Newcastle are the worst team in the competition in points conceded (32.7 per game, with the Roosters next on 26.7), tries conceded (5.9 per game), metres conceded (1526 per game), line breaks conceded (6 per game) and penalties conceded (9.1 per game).