ONE of the A-League's oldest and most controversial coaching rivalries will resume on Sunday afternoon when John Kosmina's Adelaide United travels to struggling Gold Coast.
But Miron Bleiberg, who famously clashed with the Reds boss when he was coach of Queensland Roar in the inaugural season of the competition, says the relationship between the two charismatic gaffers has never been better.
Among the more accomplished domestic coaches in the competition, their differing styles and approaches made for some fascinating battles whenever the Roar and Adelaide locked horns - but the real fireworks often came away from the pitch.
The simmering tensions between the two peaked in October 2005, when Kosmina and Bleiberg were engaged in a public slanging match ahead of Adelaide's visit to Suncorp Stadium.
In the lead-up to the match Bleiberg said the Reds, who would eventually be crowned premiers, had been on a fortunate run at the top of the table largely because of some questionable calls from the referees.
Kosmina, never one to shy away from confrontation, fired back by claiming the Roar coach was trying to influence match officials ahead of their clash, which Adelaide won 2-1.
The two were meant to shake hands when the game was done and dusted - but instead, a heated argument ensued along the sideline and they had to be separated by a police officer.
Bleiberg declared in the post-game press conference that Kosmina was 'not my friend' and made it clear he wanted nothing to do with him.
But over five years later, a lot of water has passed under the bridge.
Kosmina is now Adelaide boss for the second time, after an earlier stint at Sydney FC, and Bleiberg is employed by an entirely new side in Gold Coast United.
Time heals all wounds, as the saying goes, and Bleiberg said age has mellowed out both himself and his old sparring partner.
"Looking back, most of it was my fault," he said.
"But since then, I think we both got a bit older, unfortunately... and actually, the relationship is better than ever.
"We found we have a lot in common in the way we think about football. I was very happy for him to get the Adelaide job.
"Now I'm happy he's back in the A-League. Honestly, it's the truth."
This season, the two share yet another common thread - they're both at the helm of clubs who've had campaigns they'd rather forget.
Gold Coast are rock bottom, and simply must win against Adelaide if they are to avoid the indignity of the wooden spoon.
The ninth-placed Reds aren't doing a great deal better, though, with Kosmina's honeymoon period since taking over from Rini Coolen now long gone.
Both sides are desperate, but a horror run of injuries will force Bleiberg to back United's youth stocks to do the job against Adelaide.
"Circumstances put us where we are, and the rest is history. Anyway, the conscious decision at the start of the season was to play with youngsters," he said.
"Now because of all these injuries to the experienced players, maybe it's not a bad idea - every young player who gets a few games under his belt, we will reap the fruit next year."