The North Sydney Bears left the NRL. Manly remained. Now, with the Central Coast Bears coming back, the fierce rivalry between the two clubs is set to come to light once again, after 50 years of rivalry.
As the rivalry is sure to take some new turns until the Bears are officially made a part of the NRL, Manly are livid that the Bears brand is doing all they can to prevent their club from promoting the Sea Eagles and what they stand for in the areas of Asquith and Berowra.
According to the team’s “boundaries” Bears CEO Greg Florimo said that the North Sydney and Upper North Shore region are Bears territory and should remain so.
Manly however are livid because they say that now that the Bears are situated on the Central Coast, they don’t have any rights to claim the North Shore region as their own.
The Sea Eagles have set a plan to have some of their star players head to the area as they promote the game of Rugby League at a Community Carnival aimed at kids.
“Manly have focused on the Upper North Shore clubs like Berowra,” Florimo said.
“We were asked whether they could come into those schools and areas and, as a whole, the answer is no.
“We are trying to promote our brand name in those areas – not Manly’s brand.
“It is a traditional [Norths and rugby league] area.
“It is a good, strong rugby league district. We have given a lot of support to clubs in those areas.”
To make the battle even more bitter, Manly have inquired privately as to who the Norths club plan to send to the schools, given that they have no official NRL license as of yet.
Officials from the Central Coast however remain very adamant and confident that the area remains theirs as they say all the areas from Milsons Point to Lake Munmorah belong to the Bears club.
Manly Chairman Scott Penn disagrees significantly, as he says that preventing kids from attending the carnival has the potential damage both the kids themselves as well as the game of Rugby League.
“The kids shouldn’t suffer,” Penn said. “It is an NSWRL junior development program, so we should have first bite given the Bears do not currently have an NRL licence.
“I’m sure the NSWRL will want an NRL team promoting the game. We are not looking for a fight with a non-existent NRL club.
“The GWS AFL franchise isn’t far from the Upper North Shore. The Lower North Shore is rugby union, the Upper North Shore is rugby league.
“We are getting a multitude of players from that area and we will continue to do so.
“Youngsters from Berowra and Asquith areas are welcome and, indeed, play in our junior competitions.
“We will continue to welcome and encourage them.
“Young people need a pathway to the NRL and Manly can provide that.
“We have an obligation to spread the game.”