The game I circle: David Penna
If there's one club that has every reason to be looking forward to a rematch with one other club in particular in 2014, surely that club would be defeated grand finalists the Sea Eagles out for revenge against 2013 premiers the Roosters.
It wasn't just the big one where the Chooks got the points over their northern beaches rivals either – Sydney pipped Manly in Round 9 and Round 16 in the regular season before winning that tough and low scoring qualifying final 4-nil, and then obviously earning a controversial win in the 2013 decider.
To lose to a single club four times in one season, especially for a club that has been as successful as Manly, is not just a rarity but will also sting for some time to come. It's not a record Manly are likely to forget about in a hurry either.
"Yeah I know, thanks for reminding me!" Manly assistant coach David Penna laughed when NRL.com pointed out the 2013 ledger. "In two of the games it was just the bounce of the ball that won the game so it is just a matter of staying in there," he added, in what may have been a diplomatic reference to some controversial refereeing decisions that went against Manly last season.
"Obviously over the last six or seven years we've built up a fair rivalry against the Melbourne Storm but I guess in the last 12 months, particularly with Roosters and Souths we had some great clashes and I can't see what that would change come 2014."
Despite suggestions from some quarters that Manly fans don't like to travel, Penna said the fans were great in 2013 and hoped to see them out in force, particularly to help the side over the line against the Roosters, in 2014.
"It was great this year, people say our fans don't travel, I guess our fans don't like people telling them what they do and what they don't do. They were great when we played the Roosters at Allianz and hopefully if it's there our fans will turn up in numbers again and the same if we play at Brookvale."
With both grand final sides boasting largely similar rosters in 2014 to the ones that got them that far in 2013, Penna said there's no reason to think both squads won't be successful again next year.
"We're one of the lucky clubs and so are the Roosters that the 1-13 hasn't changed too much from 2013. We're just that little bit older but as we proved to people last year, it doesn't matter how old you are if you're prepared to turn up."
When asked what a win over the Roosters would mean to the side, Penna said it would be far sweeter to get a win later in the year.
"I'd just like to think we can get there and get the one away at the end of the year –that's the one that counts!"