Manly will play Saturday’s home final against Cronulla at Lottoland, with the NRL accepting a report from the local council declaring the venue safe from asbestos.
The league confirmed on Monday night the Sea Eagles would be able to play at their spiritual home in Brookvale, just days after the discovery of small traces of asbestos.
Given a deadline of Monday evening to provide a solution, an 11th-hour report from Northern Beaches Council saved the match being moved to Bankwest Stadium.
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“Our number one priority is ensuring the safety of both our players and members of the public at each and every match,’‘ NRL boss Todd Greenberg said.
“Council has shown us a detailed plan which removes all risk and ensures no threat to public safety.
“On that basis, we have granted approval for the match to remain at Lottoland.”
The Sea Eagles went within a whisker of losing crucial home-ground advantage, with the NRL on Monday revealing it almost made the call on Sunday night to move the game.
The Sea Eagles have used the ground since entering the league in 1947, however, Greenberg believes fans haven’t already exposed to the asbestos.
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The development came after early excavation on the site as part of the planned centre of excellence to be built at the western section of the venue. But after a day of soil testing on Monday, Northern Beaches mayor Michael Regan told the NRL the ground was safe to host the match.
“People’s safety is paramount which is why we engaged specialists as soon as the Sea Eagles raised the issue with us late on Thursday,” Regan said.
“We are really pleased that the detailed independent results have shown that council can effectively manage the site in time for the weekend game.
“We want to assure the local community there is no risk to them from the contaminants found in the soil at Brookie Oval and that council will do everything recommended to ensure people’s ongoing safety.
“There is no reason the game cannot go ahead as planned, based on scientific testing and expert advice. We can assure the community the site will be safe ahead of the weekend’s game.”
The news will come as a massive boost to Manly who are battling an injury crisis.
They have dropped their past two games heading into the finals, but have a 7-3 record at the venue.
It will mark the first time the ground has hosted a finals match since Steve Menzies’ 2008 farewell at Brookvale with a try against St George Illawarra.
Manly players had only been told about the drama on Sunday at their presentation night, and spent Monday hoping they would receive the good news.
“When given the opportunity to play at Lottoland, we want to take advantage of that,” captain Daly Cherry-Evans said before the decision.
“As a player, I would love the opportunity to play a home final.”
Members tickets for Saturday night’s match will go on sale tomorrow morning at 11am. Tickets for the general public will go on sale at 4pm.