Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans says while his team will miss their Lottoland fortress over the coming six weeks, he expects the Sea Eagles to utilise the impressive surface at Central Coast Stadium to put on some expansive footy.
Praising ARL Chairman Peter V'landys and the NRL for the remarkable achievement in getting games back on so quickly, Cherry-Evans said relocating home games up the M1 was a small sacrifice to make to get the NRL underway again.
"Ideally we'd love to be playing around the corner but that's just not the case at the moment. We're all willing to make sacrifices and as a club we're willing to play our home games on the Central Coast," he said.
"I've actually played more than a handful of games up there and I've really enjoyed it, it's a great stadium and regardless of who's going to be there or not be there, the surface is usually a really good playing surface and looking at our schedule I think there's a chance up there for us to play some expansive footy and that starts off on Sunday night [against the Bulldogs]."
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With strict biosecurity measures in place, just six venues will be used for the next six weeks as the NRL gets back underway, with Manly to share the Gosford venue with the Warriors and Knights while Canberra and the remaining NSW teams share Bankwest and Campbelltown Stadiums.
Cherry-Evans didn't feel that presented an unfair advantage to the likes of Brisbane, Melbourne and North Queensland, who get to continue with their regular home venues.
"Outside the fact you have to travel to Brisbane or Melbourne to play them, there's not too much home advantage, there's no one in the crowds," he added.
"It's not like there's a fortress, I honestly believe the novelty of that will disappear a fair bit this season so if you're willing to get your head right when it comes to travelling, understand things will going to be done differently on game day, if you can get your team to buy in to that and understand there's a purpose for it to go down and play some footy, I think you'll see some high quality games and I don't think the home-and-away stuff will bother too many people."
This Sunday's game will likely pit Cherry-Evans up against his old halves partner Kieran Foran, who is nearing a remarkable comeback from a shoulder injury suffered in a test for New Zealand last year.
Foran is in the third year of an injury-hit spell at Canterbury and DCE hoped his old mate could show everyone what he is capable of in the remainder of 2020 – just ideally not this Sunday.
"I messaged him the other day and said hopefully that string of games comes together after this weekend and he can sit this one out!" Chery-Evans laughed.
"He's a fantastic player and there's no doubt when he plays the Dogs are a better side, that's the sort of player he is, he lifts everyone around him.
"As a friend I hope Foz can put some footy tougher this year and show what he's capable of. Speaking to him and understanding the head space he's in it's a shame he's still suffering these little hurdles but knowing Foz I know he'll be back bigger and stronger at some stage. If it's this week we'll be prepared to play against him but hopefully Foz has one more week off."