Sea Eagles spread wings to new Queensland Cup nest Brad Walter | August 15, 2008 MANLY are set to withdraw the club's reserve grade team from the second-tier NSW Cup competition and send players not required for NRL duty to Queensland. The Sea Eagles and the Bulldogs are the only NRL clubs with their own sides in the restructured cup this season but both are making alternative plans for next year. The Bulldogs favour a joint venture with Sydney Bulls, who are based at The Crest sporting complex in Bass Hill and would be promoted from the third-tier Jim Beam Cup, possibly along with the St George Illawarra-aligned Shellharbour Marlins. But Manly intend to follow Canberra's lead and send players not in their top squad each week to play for the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles, who were this week granted a three-year Queensland Cup licence. "It's not because of any dissatisfaction with the NSW Cup but it's certainly a far better financial proposition for us to send four-to-eight players each week to play for the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles and it also helps us spread our brand," Manly chief executive Grant Mayer said. "We'll have someone working up there in coaching and development, but we're not abandoning our own nursery. Brookvale will always be our home, this is like a home away from home." Sea Eagles co-owners Max Delmege and Scott Penn, who recently purchased the land Manly Leagues Club occupies, are also working on a project at Caloundra, where the new Queensland Cup team is based. The decision to abandon the NSW Cup follows similar moves by the Raiders and Dragons this season, while Sydney Roosters (Newtown), Rabbitohs (Norths), Eels (Wentworthville), Panthers (Windsor), Sharks (Bardon Ridge) and Knights (Charlestown) have all formed joint ventures with other clubs. NSWRL general manager Geoff Carr described the changes as part of a transition phase the game's lower tiers are in but was confident of fielding 12 teams in 2009. "From discussions we've had with some of the clubs, we know that the Bulldogs and Sydney Bulls are looking at a joint venture, and St George Illawarra is in talks with Shellharbour about fielding a team in the VB Cup," he said. "We've also been speaking with Auckland [Vulcans] this week and, while it is an expensive operation for them, they are keen to be involved again next season."