Brett Morris fuming at Brookvale Oval surface

Manly’s home ground was also responsible for 9.9 per cent of the total games missed by players.

While injuries occurred more frequently at other grounds than they do at Brookvale, the severity of those injuries are serious cause for concern.

The Northern Beaches Council – which manages Brookvale – commissioned its latest independent assessment of the the ground last week and is understood to have reported an improvement in both turf coverage and traction since February.

The Herald can also reveal the council has set aside $1.2 million in funding for the next financial year in an effort to improve drainage and install new irrigation at the ground.

NRL head of football Graham Annesley has also commissioned his own independent report, with the results to determine whether Manly will be asked to move their next match – against Souths on Saturday week – to another venue.

“We are not going to knee-jerk, without information,” Annesley said.

“We will get the right information, determine the level of the issue and then we will take the appropriate steps.

I’ve been to Brookvale twice and my knee’s dug in and had an injury as a result.

“Player safety will always be at the forefront of our thinking on these things but we can’t completely eliminate the risk of injury – no matter what surface we play on.

“We have to be aware that other conditions, such as weather, do play a factor in that.”

Whatever the independent report determines will be of little solace to Morris.

While he initially feared a partial MCL injury would leave him sidelined for much longer than two to three weeks, he took aim at the surface when he fronted a large media contingent on Monday morning.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t,” Morris said when asked if he was angry.

“If it was the first time it happened to me, I’d just brush it off. But I’ve been to Brookvale twice and my knee’s dug in and had an injury as a result.

“As a player, you work so hard week in and week out to get out there and to have this happen as a result of the ground, it is frustrating.


“Don’t get me wrong, I love getting out and playing at suburban grounds, I’m a country boy and any chance that happens, I love that sort of stuff.

“But it’s frustrating this happens as a result of the surface.”

Morris was forced to have knee surgery in the summer of 2015/16 after suffering a knee injury at Brookvale while playing for the Bulldogs.

Given he has now injured his knee twice on the same surface, Morris fears for his own safety should he play at the ground again.

“From now on it will certainly be the back of my mind, thinking about my safety, having past experiences,” he said.

“If a club lost a major player due to it, there would be a lot of uproar.

“Especially a club building their season, say if Newcastle went there and they lost [Kalyn] Ponga, how would their fans and players react? It’s something we need to look at.

“I can’t say I won’t play, this is my job, it’s what I get paid to do.

“But there will certainly be a bit of worry if I have to play there again.”

Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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