Addin Fonua-Blake donned a surgical mask for both his training and his media commitments at the Sea Eagles' headquarters on Tuesday as a nod to the coronavirus threat.
The hulking Tongan and Manly forward says it's no disrespect to the hygiene of his teammates.
"I thought I’d wear it – just a personal decision. There’s a lot going on in the world so I’m taking a precautionary step," Fonua-Blake said.
"I’m not scared by the whole thing. I just don’t want to take anything home as I’ve got four young kids of my own and a partner.
"I know the mask doesn’t fully stop the coronavirus but if someone accidentally coughs on me I’d rather have this on."
Moses Suli also wore a mask during the training drills at North Narrabeen, with the rest of the squad fully supportive of that choice.
Fonua-Blake wears face mask as Manly prepare for comp to continue
"Each to his own," Origin and Australian forward Jake Trbojevic said of Fonua-Blake's imposing physical frame being topped off with his face barely visible beneath a baseball cap and white mask.
"I can't see myself doing it but if he wants to then good on him. He's being very health conscious and I guess with all the different news coming in, it makes people a bit anxious.
"I’m too worried about football at the moment than to worry about the virus. I am putting a lot of hand sanitiser on though.
"Look we just played one of the best teams in the comp in Storm last weekend and we’ve got the world's best team in the Roosters this weekend."
The Sea Eagles-Roosters game on Saturday has been relocated from Gosford to Leichhardt Oval. Round two of the NRL will be played before empty stadiums.
Round three for Manly is supposed to be against the Warriors at Lottoland on March 27. That may all change after this weekend if the Auckland-based side decides to return home to New Zealand.
The Manly players were briefed about that possibility as part of their regular team meeting at North Narrabeen this morning.
"The only instruction we've been told is to be ready for anything," utility Lachlan Croker said.
"Blokes had their hands in the air a bit because we don't know what's going to happen. It's a tough situation for the Warriors being away from family. If I was in that position I don't know what I'd do."
He sat with reporters alongside a little bottle of hand sanitiser. It is not a new precaution being employed.
NRL panelists predict this year's Dally M winner
"We've had these since November," he said. "They are starting to get pulled out a lot more now."
Fonua-Blake has a lot of friends in the Warriors side. He played a Test for the New Zealand Kiwis in 2017 before pledging his loyalty to Tonga.
"It's been hard for the Warriors. The call (isolation in NZ) came out mid-game last weekend. I respect if the boys have to go back because family is everything," Fonua-Blake said.
"Sometimes you've got to look after yourself … some of them have young kids.
"If our game with them is suspended I understand. To be told that they're going to be stuck away from home would be difficult for a lot of people."
He said he had not texted any of the Warriors players yet "because I know they're in good hands".
"But if anyone did want any help I'd be ready to reach out any way I could because I really do feel for them," he said.
"You start the season with footy as your main priority but then you get a bomb dropped on you like this."
Greenberg pleads for patience
Trbojevic said he hoped a solution could be worked out to allow the Warriors to still be part of the competition without having to suspend all games.
"I definitely don't want that to happen," he said.
"I want to play. But if we have to stop – and that decision is obviously made above me – then I'll do what I'm told."
First up is an empty Leichhardt Oval, which is usually pumping with rabid Wests Tigers fans, to face the premiers.
"It will be very new for most of the boys – a learning experience," Croker said.
"When was the last time Chez (Daly Cherry-Evans) played in front of no fans?" Croker asked of his high-profile teammate, captain, Queensland Origin skipper, and Australian Test halfback.
"Playing in Blacktown (Canterbury Cup) a lot last year I know what it's like to not play before many fans."