Harbour Blues: NSW tactic to beat Sydney traffic
In what would be an extraordinary first in State of Origin's 40-year history, NSW could use Sydney Harbour water taxis to travel to training next year.
The Blues have quit their Bondi base and will instead stay at the Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific next year.
Situated across from world famous Manly Beach, NSW will stay at the four-star hotel before games two and three in Sydney (June 21) and Brisbane (July 8).
However, they will still train at the $30 million NSWRL Centre of Excellence inside Sydney Olympic Park.
The 34km drive from Manly to Olympic Park could take more than an hour, depending on the unpredictable Sydney traffic.
While transport options to training haven't been nailed down, using water taxis to get across Sydney Harbour and up Parramatta River will be discussed.
Some senior NSWRL officials believe taking water taxis from Manly Wharf to Sydney Olympic Park Wharf would be quicker and less stressful than boarding a team bus to wade through Sydney's traffic snarls.
However, other Blues officials are not keen on the idea.
The shift to Manly continues the desire of NSW coach Brad Fittler to have his players stay close to the ocean.
The Blues have already stayed at Coogee Beach, Bondi Beach and Scarborough Beach in Perth.
And for next year's match against Queensland in Adelaide on June 3, NSW will stay at the four-star Stamford Grand at Glenelg Beach.
The Blues stayed at the QT Bondi Hotel - formerly the Swiss Grand - last year but have elected not to return and will head north into Silvertail territory.
Fittler and NSW adviser Greg Alexander are residents of the northern beaches.
NSW team manager Peter Parr will visit Manly in two weeks to finalise arrangements.
"Being close to the ocean has worked really well for Freddy over the past two years. It's a relaxing environment," NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said.
"No matter where they stay, the emphasis would be about replicating that sort of environment. It would be another preparation by the sea where they would do their recovery in the ocean.
"Why Manly? It's a fantastic environment and of the available alternatives that fit Freddy's requirements, Manly seems to be the best.
"The team will stay at Manly but train at the Centre of Excellence. The training facilities at the Centre of Excellence are probably the equal of any in the rugby league world."
NSW officials will be wary of the many bars and pubs at nearby Manly Corso.
The Kangaroos stayed at the Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific four years ago.
The hotel's website reads: "With its spectacular beachfront location, Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific offers access to the best of Manly, while still being within easy reach of Sydney.
"This beautiful Sydney hotel is a short stroll from the ferry terminal, where guests can catch a ferry to Sydney CBD."