NRL threatens to strip Manly of home final

The NRL has threatened to strip Lottoland of finals hosting rights unless Manly address security concerns after a Sea Eagles fan lashed out at Melbourne's Will Chambers.

The NRL integrity unit has launched an investigation after the ugly incident marred the Storm's 36-6 win over the Sea Eagles at the northern beaches suburban venue on Saturday night.

The incident highlighted the shortcomings at the ground as a fan wearing a Manly jersey attempted to reach through the players' tunnel to lash out at Chambers as the Storm centre left the field after being sin binned.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said that unless improvements were made to the venue in the next two weeks, the Sea Eagles would not be allowed to host a finals game at their spiritual home.

 

Melbourne's Will Chambers returns from the sin bin after being attacked by a fan. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Melbourne's Will Chambers returns from the sin bin after being attacked by a fan. Picture. Phil Hillyard

 

"The behaviour we saw from a fan last night was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our game," Greenberg said.

"I have asked the integrity unit to work with Manly and NSW Police so we can ensure the individual is dealt with in an appropriate fashion that meets community expectations.

"We have advised Manly that changes to the Lottoland ground must be made in order for the venue to meet the standard required to host an NRL final."

 

Usually the players' race from the Lottoland field to the dressing sheds is covered by a perspex tunnel.

However, the fan poked his arm through a gap before being restrained by officials and police.

Since 2010, the NRL has forced Sydney clubs to move finals fixtures to larger stadiums to accommodate bigger crowds.

But the knock down of Allianz Stadium has prompted the NRL to relax the rules and week one finals will be able to be hosted at smaller suburban grounds provided they meet certain criteria.

The Brookvale venue has long been criticised for its outdated facilities and earlier in the year the club announced a $36 million upgrade plan which included a new grandstand and centre of excellence.

But the NRL has put immediate pressure on the Northern Beaches Council to make improvements.

Melbourne CEO Dave Donaghy told AAP that he supported suburban grounds but they needed to be up to scratch.

 

Melbourne's Will Chambers talks to Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans at fulltime after being attacked by a fan. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Melbourne's Will Chambers talks to Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans at fulltime after being attacked by a fan. Picture. Phil Hillyard

 

"I'm sure logistically and practically it's challenging," Donaghy said.

"It's a wonderful ground with a lot of nostalgia and romanticism attached to it. If we want to keep playing games at suburban grounds we have to make sure governments at all levels are investing in them to keep them up to a certain standard.

"That includes players' wellbeing put at the forefront."

 

 

Live stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on KAYO SPORTS. Every game of every round live & anytime on your TV or favourite device. Get your 14 day free trial >

 

Live stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on KAYO SPORTS. Every game of every round live & anytime on your TV or favourite device. Get your 14 day free trial >

News Corp Australia


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