NRL 2019: Manly Sea Eagles braced for Christchurch shooting aftermath

Manly Sea Eagles will step into the unknown this week, when they 'host' the NZ Warriors in an NRL clash at Christchurch, barely two weeks after the city was rocked by mass shootings at two city mosques.  

Most of New Zealand - but particularly the South Island centre - has grappled with the recovery process from an act widely regarded as this country's first-ever terrorist attack, with sporting events all around the world also lending their thoughts and prayers to the community.

Sea Eagles forward Joel Thompson admits he isn't sure what to expect, when his team arrives in Christchurch early to promote their home game.

"Can you prepare for it?" he told Fox Sport's NRL 360 show. "I don't think you can.

"I think it's one of those things where you get over there, experience it and take it for what it is. As a team, that's what we're going to do.

"We'll go over there, be supportive, and listen and talk to the people of Christchurch. It's a great opportunity for the place to hold the game, bring the fans in and enjoy a good game of footy."

This will be the second time Manly has staged a home game in Christchurch, a move designed to capitalise on a fan base that rarely sees top-line rugby league in its city. The Warriors enjoyed  a 34-14 victory last year.

"I think it's great to have the game there and bring the fans in," Thompson told NRL 360. "It's going to be difficult - we will be out in the community as well, at schools and different events."

NRL 2019: Manly Sea Eagles braced for Christchurch shooting aftermath

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has already warned his team of the emotions surrounding this fixture.

"I reckon, if last week's anything to go by, it's been a pretty sombre week back home for obvious reasons," he told media, after their loss to Wests Tigers on Sunday.

"It's been wonder to see the country and all communities rally behind the tragedy that's happened.

"I get a sense that Manly will see that firsthand next week. Our focus is making sure that we prepare correctly for a good performance next Saturday."


Join us at 5pm Saturday for live updates of the Warriors vs Sea Eagles NRL clash.