Manly prepare to get skinny for shorter Vegas field

Manly will ramp up their Las Vegas preparations by cutting down the size of their training field to ready themselves for a skinnier, shorter Allegiant Stadium.

The NRL will step into the unknown in more ways than one when it kicks off in Vegas next month, with the historic double-header on March 2.

The first competition match in the US will also come on the league's smallest playing field, with the sideline-to-sideline distance cut down from 68m to 63m.

The usual 100-metre length of the field will be cut down to 94.5m, while the in-goal areas will also be 1.6m smaller at each end.

But it's expected the skinniness of the field will have the biggest impact, particularly in the first of the matches between Manly and South Sydney.

Both sides rely heavily on up-tempo football, with the Rabbitohs scoring the bulk of their tries out wide, and Manly renowned for utilising space to release Tom Trbojevic.

The Sydney Roosters and Brisbane are likely to be less impacted for the second game of the double-header, with both sides powerhouses through the middle.

Souths have already moved to a smaller field to prepare for the season opener, with Heffron Park cut down to size last week.

The Sea Eagles will make a similar change at Brookvale on Wednesday, before the four teams fly out next week and have one run on Allegiant Stadium before game day.

"It will definitely make a difference because you have less room in attack," Manly five-eighth Luke Brooks said. 

"It does become more of a forwards game, because they obviously have less room to go around them. You've definitely got to go through them."

He said he expected changes to extend to how close second-rowers stand to their halves to try and hit gaps, given the skinnier field.

"Where they stand usually, we might have to take it two (steps) in," Brooks said. 

"It might feel a bit crowded. We'll have to practise it, see if we need to make adjustments. I would say there is a good chance we will."

Brooks and halves partner Daly Cherry-Evans will also speak at length about changes to the kicking game.

Daly Cherry-Evans
Daly Cherry-Evans says it is important the Sea Eagles do not change their structures for one match.

Plays such as 40-20s will theoretically become easier with a shorter field, but the skinnier width makes the angle more difficult and creates a greater risk of putting the ball out on the full.

Grubber kicks could also be on the outer, with shorter in-goals creating a greater risk of the ball going dead and giving away a seven-tackle set.

Regardless, Cherry-Evans said it was important the Sea Eagles did not change their structures for one match.

"How much we have to change when it comes to tactics and that, that's probably the stuff each club's going to have their own philosophy around," he told AAP. 

"We'd like to think we're going to keep a lot of the themes that we want for the season, so we're not going to drastically change a whole heap."

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