How Manly's most famous banner all started

The story behind the best banner in rugby league was the result of a throwaway one-liner as rabid Manly fan Stephen Lucas was walking out of a game against the Broncos in 2003.

A Brisbane fan yelled out 'everyone hates Manly' to which Lucas replied: 'Guess what? Manly hates you too!'.

"Everyone around us cracked up laughing and one of the guys with me said 'that would make a good banner'," Lucas explained. "The rest is history."

Lucas had a knitted maroon and white beanie placed on his head when he was baby, starting a lifelong dedication to the club that has survived his move to Brisbane and plenty of ups and downs over more than 50 years.

And, of course, the obligatory hatred from rival fans.

It's one of rugby league's oldest sayings that you follow your team AND the team playing Manly.

Lucas, 55, embraces being despised. "Sea Eagles fans are a special breed. When you are a fan of a club that everyone hates and ridicules, it galvanises you," he said. "But the funny thing is so many supporters of other teams love it (the banner) and know it's simply a comedic retort. I certainly don't hate anyone and I get a real buzz seeing people with big smiles getting their photos taken with the banner."

Allambie Heights father-of-two Damian Mamone believes jealously is the prime reason Manly fans cop so much stick.

Most clubs can only dream about a record that includes eight premierships and no wooden spoons.

"We have been extremely successful from day one. Manly is the only side to have won premierships in each of the last five decades and made grand finals every decade since the 1950s," Mamone pointed out.

"It only took us five years to make our first grand final and we repeated it again in 2007 after being dead for three years during the (Northern Eagles) joint venture.

"Success breeds jealously and that's the way we like it!"

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