Manly ignites Telstra Stadium turf war - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly ignites Telstra Stadium turf war

By Philip Henderson 23/04/2006 06:54:03 PM Comments (0)

Manly captain Ben Kennedy put Telstra Stadium's troubled playing surface back under the microscope on Sunday, but venue officials claimed the latest controversy was nothing more than "Chinese whispers".

Kennedy said after the Sea Eagles' commanding 40-14 NRL win over the Bulldogs that his side had been told not to warm-up on the southern end of the ground because it was "dangerous".

"I don't know who it was, they just said for us not to warm up down that half because it was dangerous," Kennedy said.

"It's a funny comment when you've got to play on it. It doesn't give you much confidence.

"We got a few boys complaining about sore knees and complaining about the surface but hopefully no one got injured. They were just saying how ordinary (the ground) was."

Stadium officials were quick to hose down any controversy, claiming the pitch was in the best condition it had been all season.

Venue spokesman Kyle Patterson, however, did admit Manly refused to warm-up behind the goalposts at the southern end of the ground over concerns about the grass which had been relaid following a Rolling Stones concert earlier this month.

"The word dangerous has come out of this dispute, it wasn't said by a Telstra Stadium person, it wasn't said by an NRL person," Patterson said.

"There was a comment made by somebody else as an opinion, and that has spread as Chinese whispers sometimes do to the point that a player thought he had heard the southern half of the pitch was dangerous."

Bulldogs skipper Andrew Ryan said the surface "didn't seem too bad".

Telstra Stadium has copped its fair share of criticism over the quality of the playing surface since becoming a regular NRL venue in 1999.

This season it came under fire in round one after a soil disease caused huge chunks of turf to be ripped from the surface during the three games played there that weekend.

"This is the seventh first grade game we've had this season ... it's played today the best it has all year," said Patterson.

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