The NRL have given approval for Saturday night’s elimination final between the Sea Eagles and Sharks to go ahead as scheduled at Lottoland.
The NRL today received a formal guarantee, based on expert advice, from Northern Beaches Council that there will be no risk to public safety after the discovery of asbestos traces on the famous hill had threatened Manly's first home final in over a decade.
The council advised further testing carried out today showed no traces of asbestos in any other part of the ground and the affected area would be managed by covering with synthetic turf to remove any risk.
“Our number one priority is ensuring the safety of both our players and members of the public at each and every match,’’ said NRL CEO Todd Greenberg in a statement released on Monday night.
Bankwest Stadium had been pencilled in as the alternate venue for Saturday's elimination fixture if Lottoland wasn't up to scratch but Greenberg said council had shown the NRL a detailed plan which "removed all risk and ensured no threat to public safety".
The discovery of asbestos was just the latest drama around Manly's iconic home ground, which hasn't hosted a finals game since 2007.
Last week's banning of a fan for two years for harassing Melbourne's Will Chambers as he went up the tunnel saw concerns over security raised by NRL HQ.
Earlier in the day Manly players had been despondent at the possibility of the do-or-die clash being shifted away from their spiritual home.
"It would be devastating to lose it [the game] on the back of that,” said NSW Origin lock Jake Trbojevic. “We've worked so hard all year and earned the right to play at Lottoland.
"It's out of our hands. We'll play wherever, but we'd love to play the Sharks at Lottoland. The battle of the beaches out at Parramatta would be very weird.”
In the end that scenario will not play out and the Sea Eagles will have home ground advantage for the showdown with the Sharks.