Perth's nib Stadium will next week become the eighth different venue to host a first-grade game between the Vodafone Warriors and the Manly Sea Eagles.
They’ll both enter the match buoyed by last-up wins, the Vodafone Warriors winning their fourth match in five outings with their 27-18 success over Gold Coast, while the Sea Eagles snapped a losing streak by blitzing St George Illawarra 36-6 on Monday night.
Since the two clubs first met in 1995, the majority of the 28 encounters between the two clubs have typically been played at Mount Smart Stadium or Brookvale Oval.
But while the first 15 alternated between the two home venues those grounds have been used only eight times in 13 matches since 2008.
First came their preliminary final match-up at the Sydney Football Stadium in 2008 and then the 2011 grand final at ANZ Stadium.
The 2012 season started with the Vodafone Warriors taking their first-round home game – and grand final rematch – to Eden Park, before Manly hosted the Vodafone Warriors at Patersons Stadium (Subiaco Oval) in Perth later that year and then Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford in 2013.
Now in their 22nd season in existence, the Vodafone Warriors have found the Sea Eagles their second most challenging opponent behind only St George Illawarra.
This season they beat the Dragons for the first time in nine years and only the fifth time in 24 contests.
The record against Manly shows just eight wins in 28 matches and none outside Mount Smart Stadium or Brookvale Oval. The dominance has been almost complete latterly with Manly winning 10 of the last 11 meetings.
In 13 games at Mount Smart Stadium the Vodafone Warriors have won only three in 2004, 2007 and 2013 but have fared better at Brookvale Oval where the two teams haven’t played since 2011. In 10 games there the record is even at 5-5.
In earlier times the Vodafone Warriors won four straight matches from 1999-2004 and also five out of six from 2000-2002 when Manly and North Sydney formed the Northern Eagles, a short-lived and unholy alliance.
Despite limited winning experiences there have been some memorable victories, not least the 26-24 success in 2009 when the great Stacey Jones was used from the bench in his comeback appearance. He created a try for Brent Tate and then what proved to be Jerome Ropati’s match-winner.
There was also a 36-10 trouncing of the Sea Eagles in 1999 and a 36-14 win at a sold-out Mount Smart Stadium in 2007 when the Vodafone Warriors wore a replica Auckland strip to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the province’s famous wins over Australia, Great Britain and France in the space of three weeks.