THE toughest of seasons goes into overdrive in the next two weeks for the Sea Eagles with a horror marathon across Australia against back-to-back quality opposition in the New Zealand Warriors and North Queensland Cowboys.
Geoff Toovey's side play in Perth in a 2011 grand final rematch against the Warriors next Saturday and will spend a few days at home before heading to the far north for a vital match against the in-form Cowboys in Townsville.
The Warriors and Cowboys are not only supremely talented, they are also two of the most physical teams in the NRL premiership.
Manly co-captain Jamie Lyon says his side will accept the challenge for what it is.
"We play the game for a living and every trip we undertake is carefully planned. It's no big deal really. We played the Warriors at Eden Park in a hostile environment at the start of the season after a trip to the UK so this trip isn't such a big deal," he said.
"It's going to be exciting playing in Perth and if the NRL brings in a team from there it will become part of every season."
Ticket sales for the match in Perth are humming along and the decision to play the game in WA looks to be a winner for the Sea Eagles.
Fullback Brett Stewart, who missed last weekend's game against the Bulldogs, is no certainty to be back for the Warriors match with his hamstring tear still causing concern.
SINGE'S ITALIAN JOB
HIGHLY respected Sea Eagles head conditioner Donny Singe this week agreed to link up with the Italian squad for next year's Rugby League World Cup in England and Wales.
Singe, a proud Kiwi, spoke with New Zealand coach Steve Kearney before committing to the Italian side which is scheduled to play Wales in the opening game of the Cup in October 2013 in Cardiff.
Singe says he is very impressed by Italy's enthusiasm and planning for the World Cup. "They are building a strong squad and planning well. I'm delighted to be part of their group."
NEWCASTLE Knights owner Nathan Tinkler says the Manly Sea Eagles deserve government help for much-needed development of Brookvale Oval.
The mining magnate spoke about his support of Brookvale's future in the NRL.
"Manly is a great club and their fans deserve a better ground," Tinkler said prior to his Knights' convincing and surprise win over the Sea Eagles last Saturday at the new-look Hunter Stadium.
Tinkler watched the match with former treasurer Peter Costello from one of the club's lavish corporate rooms which surround the ground.
"All other clubs have had support - it is simply Manly's turn to be given an upgrade," Tinkler said.
A former forward in his playing days in the Hunter region, Tinkler loves his rugby league.