Manly boss’ surprise Campbelltown turf theory
Manly chairman Scott Penn has issued a shock take on what part the dodgy Campbelltown Stadium surface played in the broken foot that will sideline star five-eighth Dylan Walker for six weeks.
The NRL was on Monday forced to transfer Thursday night's clash between Penrith and South Sydney to Kogarah's Jubilee Oval because of safety concerns after the ground was torn to shreds on Sunday.
Walker was one of three Manly players injured during the match.
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Star fullback Tom Trbojevic will also be sidelined for six weeks with a hamstring injury, while Brad Parker suffered concussion after losing his footing before being knocked out when he fell heavily on the turf.
Several other players also lost their footing at different stages as the ground chopped up like a cow paddock after a weekend of heavy traffic and rain.
When Walker fell awkwardly in a tackle by Elliott Whitehead you could see the ground visibly tear up under his feet.
However, Penn believes the soft surface may have actually helped Walker from suffering a worse injury.
"I have heard that bandied about (that the surface may have played a part in Walker's injury)," Penn said.
"But just looking at the way he landed, it was just unlucky. It was super awkward.
"To be honest, the ground may have helped, the fact it was soft and it dug up. It may have actually helped in the end. If it was harder it could have been worse.
"I don't think you can blame the surface. It was just a big body (Whitehead) on top and he just got twisted badly."
NRL head of football Graham Annesley was also adamant the decision to move games from Campbelltown was not due to Walker injury.
"No, it (the switch of venue) is not as a result of anything that has happened," Annesley said.
"It is just that the amount of wear and tear and obviously the wet weather didn't help."
Meanwhile, Penn labelled Manly's win among the bravest and best he had seen from his beloved Sea Eagles.
The Manly chairman was on Monday night due to get out of quarantine restrictions after returning from the United States two weeks ago.
Penn had been locked up in New York for more than three months during the COVID-19 outbreak and has been unable to watch any of Manly's games live so far this season.
But he has passed his COVID test and will be at the game in Gosford against Cronulla on Sunday.
"I am looking forward to it," Penn said last night from his Sydney hotel room, as he waited to get out of his quarantine.
"It has been a long wait."
Originally published as Manly boss' surprise Campbelltown turf theory