Gabba playing surface faces scrutiny - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gabba playing surface faces scrutiny

By Laine Clark 19/05/2010 06:04:09 PM Comments (0)

A change in training venue spoke volumes about the under-fire Gabba surface despite Brisbane's coaching staff remaining tight-lipped on the hot topic.

Lions' assistant Jade Rawlings stuck to the script on Wednesday and refused to criticise the hardness of their home ground despite a long injury list including their biggest stars Jonathan Brown and Brendan Fevola, who are receiving treatment for groin niggles from an Adelaide specialist.

The likes of Geelong coach Mark Thompson, Collingwood mentor Mick Malthouse and Western Bulldogs' Rodney Eade have all weighed in on the Gabba surface debate this week following a spate of injuries.

And the AFL players boss Matt Finnis reportedly upped the ante by claiming the Gabba ground was "not acceptable" to play on.

Behind closed doors the Lions are reportedly investigating a link between the high level of injuries that have occurred at the Lions and the Gabba's surface.

But the Lions are reluctant to criticise the Gabba publicly because of their relationship with the Queensland government.

Stadiums Queensland - a state government body - manages the Gabba.

Certainly Rawlings towed the line when inevitably asked about the surface.

"It's not for me to make a judgment call - I know the club has got a strong relationship with Stadiums Queensland," he said.

"Other clubs are making statements but I don't think you can trace injuries back to the ground.

"I know Etihad Stadium faces the same sort of thing."

Yet their training venue switch to Coorparoo, near the Gabba, spoke volumes about questions over the venue's surface.

It follows reports that ground staff are working around the clock to address concerns for the welfare of players by Collingwood ahead of their round 10 clash.

While eyebrows were raised by Brown and Fevola heading interstate to treat injuries, Rawlings said it was all part of a long term plan by the club - and not due to the Gabba surface.

"I couldn't trace it back to that. It may be more the workload and what they do week to week, the travel, the actions they make during the game - it can't be traced back to the ground," he said.

"And that (Adelaide trip) was planned three weeks ago.

"No doubt when you go early in the week it draws conclusions that the issues are more serious than what they are.

"But we spoke to them and they are going well - it is part of their maintenance which has been planned for quite a while."

Rawlings declared Brown and Fevola certain starters against the Crows at Adelaide on Sunday.

He also talked up the chances of injured duo Mitch Clark (groin) and Ash McGrath (elbow) running out against the Crows, who have only racked up one win from the opening eight rounds.

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