Daniel Nichols – Friday Night: Featuring Rugby League’s Greatest Rivalry

Although the Manly/Dogs, Sharks/Dragons, Broncos/Titans rivalries, and there are plenty of others, have plenty of history and venom behind them, make absolutely no mistake about it, league’s biggest rivalry is between the Rabbitohs and the Roosters.

This Friday night the latest chapter in this heated rivalry will be written as two of the NRL’s foundation clubs battle it out for a shot in this season’s decider.

There will be a massive crowd on hand for this one, I’d say even 60,000 plus is within reason. Anything less than 50,000 would be an embarrassment to both sets of fans, and the game.

I don’t support either side, but I am excited for this clash.

Even if the game completely fizzles and fails to live up to even the lowest of expectations, the battle on social media, and in the stands, will be well worth the price of admission.

As a fan of neither side, I simply do not understand the depth of the rivalry.

Already this week I have seen friends completely turn on friends based on their footy side.

Normal, down to Earth people, have taken to social media to show their utter disdain for opposition players and fans.

I’m not sure how much of it is genuine dislike for the other side, and how much is just enjoying the banter in the build up, but everyone I have spoken to has said they ‘hate’ the opposition and their fans.

This is a rivalry beyond anything I have ever experienced. Don’t get me wrong, I have teams I enjoy seeing succeed far less than other sides, but I don’t think I’ve ever genuinely hated another side.

Last season I went to the final round game between these two sides at ANZ Stadium. I sat with a group of people who were there simply to enjoy the rivalry and sense of occasion.

What is it about Sonny Bill Williams that has Rabbitohs fans booing until their throats are sore?

What is it about Sam Burgess that has Roosters fans struggling not to lose their lunch?

My best guess is it simply comes down to the jersey they wear.

There are some brilliant rivalries in other sports in this nation. Collingwood have multiple heated rivalries, the Wanderers and Sydney FC have created something special in their short time in opposition, but the Rabbitohs vs Roosters rivalry is the jewel in the Aussie sporting rivalry crown.

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