IT was for times like last Sunday afternoon that Manly co-owner Max Delmege bought himself a Fuji bicycle last Christmas. "Whenever I need to let off some steam from work or football, I hop on the bike until I'm relaxed again," Delmege says. In the humid aftermath of Manly's cruel loss to Parramatta on Sunday, Delmege needed 45 minutes worth of pedalling around Mona Vale until he was able to function normally again, let alone speak to another soul. "After seeing that forward pass let go, I was so upset that I just grabbed the bike and rode and rode and rode," he says. And as the sweat poured from beneath Delmege's helmet, so did the memories. Like many other Sea Eagles fans, he couldn't escape a sense of deja vu. That an injustice like this had been perpetuated before, many times before, and not so long ago. Less then 12 months earlier, hadn't Manly coach Des Hasler also addressed a post-match press conference in a voice trembling with a disturbing rage that could precede unspeakable violence? He had. It was at Skilled Park, after last year's round 11 loss to Gold Coast - a game decided by an awful penalty in favour of the Titans. On that afternoon, Hasler read from a prepared script and concluded: "The game is professional, the referees are not." They were powerful words, but not overdue if you're from the Northern Beaches and possess a footballing memory that hasn't been damaged by too many big nights at the Surf Rock Hotel. Hasler, you see, has suffered more outrageous wrongs in his time as a player and coach at Brookvale than his full head of mostly-brown hair suggests. It all started way back at Caltex Field in 1987, when he was sin-binned for a one-off scrum infringement late in a tense match against Cronulla. Without their halfback, the visitors conceded their narrow lead, prompting then-coach Bob Fulton to publicly plead for a cement truck to end the life of referee Bill Harrigan. In 1990, Hasler was on the crime scene again when Manly were robbed in broad daylight at Lang Park. On that occasion, Broncos hooker Kerrod Walters was awarded the game-breaker, despite bouncing the Steeden with more force than the demolition ball that would reduce the Cauldron to rubble just two years later. Then there was the 1995 Grand Final and two of Canterbury's tries, from a forward pass and seventh-tackle play respectively. And most perhaps most excruciating, Adam MacDougall's stud marks on Geoff Toovey's face in 1997 that saw the Newcastle centre escape with a premiership ring but no suspension. Like tax evasion and election day no-shows, these are blatant crimes that people don't want punished. Because like the ATO and voting, everyone hates Manly. Manly: the very word conjures images of smug silvertails insulated in their own slice of supposed-God's Country. From the time former Sea Eagles supremo Ken Arthurson pillaged Wests until the time he ran an ARL competition that Manly co-incidentally dominated, it's an unlikable perception the Sea Eagles have done precious little to combat. "Because although the whole silvertail thing started off as rubbish," Arthurson explains. "It's something that works in our favour. If everyone hates Manly, then it's Manly against the world." And now Sea Eagles fans are entitled to think that world of hate includes referees. History does not lie. There's not another single team that has lost so many games in the past generation on the balance of so many indefensible, ludicrous, and plain wrong refereeing stuff-ups. But no one says anything because everyone hates Manly, and hence Manly have invited such rotten luck for being so damned proud of being so damned arrogant and successful. Now living on the Gold Coast, Arthurson knows it will always be the way no matter how many more games are lost in the same disgracefully unfair circumstances. The beauty and foundation of rugby league's tribalism is that every club has its own persona, and Manly's just happens to be easy hate. "And to tell you the truth, most of us wouldn't have it any other way," Arthurson laughs.