AMBITIOUS Manly boss Graham Lowe believes Brookvale Oval can be transformed into a venue resembling Wembley Stadium.
Brookvale Oval being inspected by the Sea Eagles and Warringah Council officials on Monday. Picture: VIRGINIA YOUNG
Lowe and Sea Eagles chairman Scott Penn inspected the old ground on Monday morning.
Warringah Mayor Michael Regan used the walk-through tour to guarantee the ground will be ready for Manly’s round-five encounter with the Sharks.
The Manly Daily was also invited on the tour to see the progress of the upgrades which include revamping the existing changerooms, improvements to seating in the Jane Try and Ken Arthurson Stands and construction of new corporate boxes in the Ken Arthurson Stand.
The estimated costs for the opening phase of the upgrades on Brookvale Oval is around $3.8 million.
A relaxed Lowe said the works will ensure rugby league fans get a product comparable with Wembley Stadium when the football season gets going.
“The special thing is we’re still managing to retain a unique quality that’s probably disappearing at a lot of grounds throughout the world,” Lowe told the Daily on Monday.
“The atmosphere here is pretty unique, really.
“I’ve been at Wembley Stadium when I was coaching with Wigan, and there was 100,000 people but the atmosphere there is no better than what you get here.
“That’s going to be retained and that’s the great part about it.
“It’s not the plushest of places but people know what they get when they come here.
“The most important thing is they’re going to be entertained by a pretty good football team.”
The works will keep the Sea Eagles away from the peninsula for the opening month of the premiership but Cr Regan yesterday guaranteed everything will be finished in time for the April 11 clash with the Sharks.
“Everything is all well and truly on track and will be ready for that first game,” he said.
“It all looks good and everyone is working hard together to get it done,” Regan said.
The Sea Eagles got the job done well in their opening NRL trial against the Sharks on Friday night, cruising to a comfortable 18-4 win at Toyota Stadium.
While much of the focus was on young halves Kieran Foran and Trent Hodkinson, five-eighth Jamie Lyon was Manly’s best setting up two tries for Tony Williams and new recruit Dean Whare.
“We had a lot of players getting the off-season cobwebs out,” Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler said.
“The boys have just done a really long off-season so they were just keen to play.”
Manly play the Warriors in their final pre-season trial in Auckland on February 27.