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NRL Head of Football - Elite competitions Graham Annesley.

The NRL has commissioned its own independent report into the condition of Lottoland's playing surface to determine if the ground can handle the next scheduled match.

Head of Football - Elite Competitions Graham Annesley said that within the next 48 hours the independent consultants would complete their analysis.

A member of Annesley's staff inspected Lottoland on Monday and spoke with both the Sea Eagles and the Northern Beaches Council, who leases the ground to the club.

After an NRL trial in late February was moved because of the state of the ground, the Brookvale Oval surface has again come under the microscope.

Last year Sea Eagles pair Lachlan Croker and Curtis Sironen both tore their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in separate games there.

Last Saturday Roosters winger Brett Morris suffered medial ligament damage in his left knee and will miss the next few weeks. Torrential rain did fall at the ground for about 20 minutes during the game.

Manly is "away" to the Warriors this weekend in Christchurch but are due to play their round four home game at Lottoland on April 6 against the Rabbitohs.

Annesley discusses key decisions from Round 2

"The weather was a factor but I'm not saying it was the only factor. We need to get it properly assessed. We do take this seriously as a safety issue," Annesley said.

"I'm not going to speculate on what may or may not happen. I'd like to think the ground is in good shape to host the next [Manly] game but we're going to move quickly – that's what we did with the SCG a few weeks ago."

Our rules ... call for a player who has received two head knocks in the course of a year be independently assessed

Graham Annesley on Isaah Yeo

Annesley said if South Sydney wanted to inspect Lottoland before April 6, the NRL was happy for them to do so. The Rabbitohs told they would be doing just that.

In other points from his weekly review of each NRL round:

  • Both the Penrith doctor and Penrith head trainer have been asked to submit reports to the NRL on the decision-making behind Isaah Yeo returning to Saturday's game against the Knights after suffering an accidental elbow to his head – his second head knock in a week
  • The Damien Cook pass to teammate Cody Walker in South Sydney's win over the Dragons was forward; but the Kotoni Staggs pass to Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough ins Friday night's win over the Cowboys was legal
  • Penalties blown in round two in 2019 (103) were 56 fewer than round two in 2018
  • The average bunker decision time dropped by 27 seconds from round two last year to this year

Annesley produced some figures from the NRL's injury analysis reports over the past five seasons. During 2018 the grounds with the highest "percentage risk of injury" were Suncorp Stadium (8.0) Cbus Super Stadium (7.8)  and Mt Smart (6.4). Lottoland came in at 4.4.

But in the list for the average games missed due to injury, Lottoland was the highest (4.9) followed by Penrith Stadium (4.3) and WIN Stadium (4.3).

In explaining that Staggs' pass was legal, Annesley read from the NRL rules that state the momentum of two players running towards the try line and passing means the ball can look like it's forward when it's not.

Morris hits out over Brookvale surface

"It's all to do with the movement over the ground. Look it won't resolve the arguments about forward passes and if you recall we did have a season [2000] of the video referee ruling on forward passes and I have to say it was an unmitigated disaster."

As for Yeo, there is no mandatory stand-down for players suffering more than one head knock in a season.

"Our rules, which are consistent with sports internationally, call for a player who has received two head knocks in the course of a year be independently assessed before they can return to either training or play," Annesley said.

"No doubt that will take place in the coming days as well.  We're not jumping to any conclusions. We just need the appropriate information."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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