Manly eyes season kick-off in China BY:BRENT READ From: The Australian May 23, 2013 http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/nrl/manly-eyes-season-kick-off-in-china/story-fnca0von-1226648723886 Brett Stewart and David Williams in jerseys designed to promote a diabetes awareness campaign Picture: Gregg Porteous THE chances of Manly and Canberra opening next year's premiership with a game in China could be determined within weeks after it emerged the NRL had hired an independent consultant to investigate whether it was a worthwhile exercise. Sea Eagles chief executive David Perry confirmed the club was waiting for the NRL's answer as it looks to move a game to the city of Shenzhen, about an hour north of Hong Kong. The game has been on the agenda for more than a year but requires the financial support of the NRL before it can go ahead. The consultant is Peter Phillips, who was involved in the Beijing Olympics. Phillips, who is based in Canberra and specialises in the development of business between Australia and China, is expected to attend Saturday night's game between Manly and Canberra at Brookvale Oval, where Sea Eagles players will wear a specially designed jersey to raise awareness of diabetes. "We're still looking at all the opportunities for us to play Canberra next year in Shenzhen a week before the official NRL kick-off," Perry said. "It would be an NRL game. We're working with the NRL at the moment and a consultant is putting together a brief on the game and investment into China and opportunities it may create. "The NRL is reviewing at the current moment and they will need to make a decision with the clubs by July." While the game would be a home clash for Manly, Shenzhen is an attractive option because it has a 60,000-seat stadium and is the base for Huawei, Canberra's major sponsor. Raiders chief executive Don Furner travelled to China last year with representatives from Manly with a view to moving a game to Shenzhen this season, plans that were subsequently delayed. If the game gets the go-ahead, it promises to be a hectic start to the 2014 season for all concerned. The NRL is believed to be in the final stages of rubber-stamping the pre-season nines tournament, played in Auckland. The Manly-Canberra match would then be played in China a week later -- a week before the season starts for the other 14 clubs. While Sea Eagles officials were optimistic about the game getting the green light, they were also on the front foot yesterday over the NRL's decision to make mid-season rule changes to time wasting. The NRL competition committee this week announced plans to introduce stricter time limits for scrums and drop-outs. Manly coach Geoff Toovey was scathing in his assessment of the changes. Toovey questioned the impact on player welfare. "I think it's ridiculous and, again, why are they changing the rules halfway through a competition?" Toovey said. "Why can't we sit down and do this all in an orderly fashion at the end of the year? I don't know, it's got me puzzled. "Do we need to speed the game up any more? Did anyone see the game on the weekend (between Manly and Melbourne)? "That's all we need, to speed it up more. Look, there's plenty of other things that can be changed I'm sure but let's sit down and do it in an orderly fashion, not a knee-jerk reaction to something."