The NRL is confident a well-worn Campbelltown Stadium playing surface did not contribute to injuries suffered by Manly stars Dylan Walker and Tom Trbojevic, despite holding concerns over the field before Sunday's game kicked off against Canberra.
Thursday’s upcoming Panthers-Rabbitohs clash has been moved from Campbelltown to Netstrata Jubilee Stadium due to concerns over the pitch, while Walker (foot) and Trbojevic (hamstring) are facing six-week lay-offs.
Manly coach Des Hasler refused to blame the surface for the injuries to his big guns despite also being surprised by the state of the field leading into a gutsy 14-6 win.
Walker’s left foot dug deep into the turf as he was tackled by Elliott Whitehead, while Brad Parker (concussion) also lost his footing before being knocked out when he fell heavily to the ground.
NRL.com understands Walker will be out until at least August with a broken foot, but has avoided a Lisfranc fracture, which would have ruled him out for up to three months.
Trbojevic is also awaiting scan results on another hamstring injury and is expected to be out for a similar timeframe as Walker.
Tom Trbojevic leaves field with injury
NRL head of football Graham Annesely said the governing body had inspected the Campbelltown Stadium surface during the week, but was comfortable it did not play a part in the Manly trio going down.
"We have looked at the surface as recently as last week, as we do with all surfaces," Annesely said on Monday.
"So it has been on our radar but the weather didn't help the situation over the weekend.
"Clearly the conditions, those sort of conditions can affect any game. It's not a player safety issue as such. Of course, we're always concerned about player safety.
"We want them to play on the best possible surface and just given the wear and tear Campbelltown has been under since we've come back from our break, [the Panthers-Rabbitohs game was moved] to give the players the best possible opportunity to play on a surface that's going to do the game justice."
The majority of NRL clubs will return to their regular grounds from round eight pending biosecurity restrictions.
Penrith’s Dylan Edwards was unfazed by the Campbelltown surface when he was a part of the upset win over Melbourne last Friday, which was followed by the Tigers-Cowboys on Saturday and Manly-Canberra to finish the weekend.
"I actually thought it looked really good on Friday night," Edwards said.
"That was the first time I'd been out there though so I couldn't notice the change or anything like that.
"But I thought it played well for us. It was still really fast even though it was a bit dewy … I didn't notice it too much."
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Both he and fellow Panther Jarome Luai had no issue with Thursday’s game being shifted to Kogarah, where the Dragons and Sharks are current tenants.
"I think all the players are the same – it doesn't really matter what paddock you play on, you just focus on the game at hand," Luai said.
"We've just been told we're moving to Kogarah now so nothing much changes for us. We're just looking to do a job against a team that's in form at the moment.
"You don't really think about [the turf] too much when you're out there. You just try and compete as hard as you can and win the game."