Manly won’t rush back to Vegas, coach Seibold says

Jasper Bruce |

Manly and the Sydney Roosters will hit the ground running at 4 Pines Park, Anthony Seibold says.
Manly and the Sydney Roosters will hit the ground running at 4 Pines Park, Anthony Seibold says.

Manly are unlikely to put their hands up to play in Las Vegas next season, with coach Anthony Seibold admitting it took “a lot of preparation” to participate in the NRL’s season opener.

As the Sea Eagles prepare to do battle with fellow Vegas visitors the Sydney Roosters on Sunday, Seibold said neither side would have any excuses for a Sin City hangover – despite the demanding schedule.

The Sea Eagles were the biggest winners of the four teams that participated in this month’s double-header at Allegiant Stadium, upsetting South Sydney by 12 points.

New recruit Luke Brooks shone on his debut at five-eighth, while Tom Trbojevic showed shades of his devastating best coming back from injury.

Off the field, Manly were the only side to host a fan event for those who had travelled from Australia, drawing 500 supporters to the city’s Hard Rock Cafe.

Manly fans at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas.
Manly put on a special event in Las Vegas for fans who had made the trip from Australia. (HANDOUT/ZAC BAILEY)

The NRL has a deal for four more years of Las Vegas matches, as part of a long-term play to break into the American sporting market.

But while Roosters coach Trent Robinson has indicated his hopes of being given first dibs at a spot on the plane in 2025, Seibold is less eager.

Travelling overseas meant reconfiguring the side’s pre-season, extra media and promotional commitments, managing players on the road and adjusting to different conditions.

“The reality of it was a lot of preparation went into that particular game,” Seibold said.

“I don’t think it’s something that you could or should or would want to do every year.

“I certainly would love to do it again in my time here at Manly, maybe in a couple of years.”

Action from Manly v Souths in Las Vegas.
Despite the increased workload, the Las Vegas trip was a positive experience, Seibold says. (HANDOUT/NRL PHOTOS)

Three-time reigning premiers Penrith appear a front-runner to be chosen for next season’s trip stateside, with at least one of the four Queensland sides also likely to be selected.

If the NRL is adamant Manly should play again, the Sea Eagles will go along for the ride.

“I’m happy for the NRL to make that decision,” Seibold said.

“If we’re chosen to do it again, we’ll do it again. For everyone involved, it was a great experience.

“Whoever the four teams are, they’ll probably have a better preparation because the door’s been opened by the four clubs that went over and represented the NRL this year.”

Manly and the Roosters won their respective Sin City clashes but by the time they run out at a sold-out 4 Pines Park on Sunday, 14 days will have passed between games.

The other two sides that took part in the Vegas trip – Souths and Brisbane – played out a scrappy encounter on Thursday night that featured 29 errors.

But despite the long turnaround between matches, Seibold expected the Sea Eagles and Roosters to be ready to fire.

“Both teams have had a long break since the Las Vegas round-zero games. So there’s no excuses for either side,” he said.

“We’ve been able to get over the jet lag, restart the engine so to speak, and we’ve had a full week’s preparation.

“We feel as though we’re in good shape to perform really well.”