"They've been a part of my life forever."
For some, supporting the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles is a dirty little secret, but for Mudgee residents, Adam Jones and Tony Devine, it's something they're happy to declare.
The pair first placed their maroon-coloured glasses on around the age of seven at a time when both had moved to Mudgee and when the club were seriously disliked; "I think that's what drew me to them," Adam said.
"All we had when we moved to Mudgee in 1974 was a transistor radio and an old black and white TV.
"I remember having a 48 page exercise book listening to the radio and taking down the scores, I used to do the rounds."
Supporting one of the most loathed teams in the NRL competition would naturally make the duo susceptible to copping flak, but that's something they're willing to endure, in fact, they like it.
"Everyone always says to me 'you either love Manly, or you hate them'. Every supporter of the other teams tends to all hate Manly and we like it that way," Tony said.
"I've been to plenty of stadiums and felt like I'm one in five thousand, it's better that way.
"Whether they're losing or not, you still support them. You take it on the chin from people who want to bag the crap out of you."
While the pair had progressed through school together, and are now colleagues, their shared dedication to Manly wasn't recognised until later on.
"At school, you might have secretly followed Manly but it wasn't an advertised fact," Tony said. "It was for me," Adam replied.
"Really knowing Adam was a true Manly supporter like myself probably wasn't until I moved back to Mudgee as a policeman. A true Manly supporter in a town like Mudgee is easy to spot.
"I call us true one per cent supporters, there's not many of us about," Adam added.
"We're fortunate that we work together and can stand up for each other when people are bagging us out for going for Manly. Adam bites a bit more than me but the guys go straight for the throat with him, and that's the way we like it," Tony said.
The news of Manly going up against the Gold Coast Titans in round six of the NRL season at Mudgee's Glen Willow Stadium was welcomed by Tony and Adam who said they "wouldn't miss it for the world".
"I'm not just a Manly supporter, I'm a rugby league supporter. I'd go if Manly wasn't playing, it wouldn't matter. All the haters will come out, hopefully they will," Adam said.
"It's great for the young kids. It's alright for us, we can just go watch them whenever we want but the kids don't get that option.
"I had a holiday booked in for the South Coast and I had to change the dates to make sure I'm here. We're both going, there's no doubt about that," Tony added.
"Even though Manly is very high profile, for those players to devote their time into going to the junior clinics and schools, it's better than good for this town.
"I would like to see Manly players be down to earth with the locals. They need to remember how they got there and who keeps them there.
"All the players I've met through the years, it's the genuine guys you remember," Adam concluded.
The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles will face the Gold Coast Titans on April 17 at Glen Willow Stadium.
Kick-off will be at 3pm following the curtain raiser at 12.30pm where the Western Rams will go head-to-head with the Great Northern Tigers (u17s).
Gates will open at 12pm.
Tickets can be purchased from 123tix.com.au.
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