Manly are ready to embrace their home away from home on the Central Coast with Des Hasler’s men boasting the best record for any team headed for neutral territory.
Once the home of the ill-fated Northern Eagles joint venture with the Bears, Gosford has made for happier memories for Manly since returning as a sole entity in 2003.
The club has regularly taken home matches there and hold an enviable 13-3 record on the Central Coast turf.
“Personally I like Central Coast, it’s a good ground,” Hasler said.
“I like playing there, the players like playing there. It works well location wise for the Warriors, Newcastle and ourselves.
“It’s a good ground to play at. It’s only there for the first seven weeks but once we get into the season it will change up again.
“Fingers crossed at some stage we will get back to Brookie.”
Manly will host Canterbury, Brisbane, Cronulla and Newcastle on the Central Coast, before the NRL makes another call on venues ahead of round 10.
The Sea Eagles’ record at Gosford is far superior to any other team forced to play away from their regular home ground during the coronavirus pandemic.
Only St George Illawarra, Canterbury and the Sydney Roosters will hold winning records on their new home grounds of the 11 clubs forced to shift elsewhere.
The Wests Tigers also have a losing record of 36-44 at Campbelltown, despite the stadium being one of their regular home venues.
Meanwhile Manly are likely to benefit from the time away, with key middles Jake Trbojevic and Addin Fonua-Blake both back to full fitness.
Both narrowly beat the clock to play in the opening two rounds, but the rest has been crucial after off-season shoulder surgery.
“We’ve had two or three weeks (of preparation), but it’s felt like six,” Hasler said.
“I wouldn’t want it to be any more. The lead-in we have had has been good. It’s been adequate time, that’s for sure.”
HOW YOUR TEAM FARES AT ITS NEW HOME:
Sydney Roosters: 1-0
South Sydney: 0-2
Wests Tigers: 36-44*
St George Illawarra: 2-1
Gold Coast: 6-17
QCB STADIUM (TOWNSVILLE):
North Queensland: 0-1*
*Denotes regular home ground