It appears a big risk of two NRL competition points but Manly are hoping a pulsating atmosphere at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday will inspire, not hinder.
The Sea Eagles have surrendered home advantage to Brisbane as part of a lucrative deal to stage a double-header at the Broncos’ home ground on Saturday, with Melbourne also taking their home fixture against North Queensland to the venue.
The in-form Broncos are yet to drop a match at their home ground in 2016 and will be boosted by a crowd full of their own fans.
At Brookvale Oval, the Sea Eagles have hosted the Broncos 16 times – claiming victory 10 times.
Their record in Brisbane is okay, with eight wins from 18 trips to the Queensland capital but that includes heavy defeats in their past two trips to Suncorp Stadium.
Back-rower Tom Symonds says the challenge for his teammates will be doing all they can to embrace the finals-like atmosphere that an expected sellout 50,000 crowd will bring.
“There’s probably no better atmosphere in the game,” Symonds said.
“It’s probably the best stadium in the country I think. 50,000, really close as well.
“A better atmosphere than even ANZ Stadium, which is a lot bigger and more people but at Suncorp all the people are right there on top of you so it’s definitely going to be a good one.”
Teammate Jake Trbojevic says the key will be ensuring the Broncos’ fans don’t have a reason to get behind their team.
“We’ve just got to go out there and start well,” Trbojevic said.
“Hopefully take the Brisbane fans out of it. Start the game well and hopefully we get a few fans up there watching us, who can get behind us and really help us play well.”
FLYING THE NEST – Manly’s record against Brisbane at home and away
At Suncorp – Won 8, Lost 10 (44.4 per cent)
At Brookvale – Won 10, Lost 5, Drawn 1 (62.5 per cent)
* Lost heavily in past two Suncorp games (36-10 in 2014 and 44-10 in 2015)
* Have lost just twice (with one draw) at Brookvale since the early 1990s