Etihad Stadium rolls out turf talk - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Etihad Stadium rolls out turf talk

By Robert Grant and Roger Vaughan 04/08/2010 06:56:19 PM Comments (0)

Etihad Stadium management want any new AFL ground surface guidelines to apply to all venues.

The AFL are set to look at their surface criteria at the end of the season and outspoken Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has called for a major review of the controversial turf at Etihad Stadium.

But the stadium's management have rejected any suggestion there should be specific guidelines for some venues, despite the fact they are the only AFL ground with a retractable roof.

"We are happy for the AFL to include any new criteria, in terms of guidelines," stadium communications manager Bill Lane told AAP.

"In saying that, our one stipulation is that any new criteria needs to apply to all AFL venues around Australia and the VFL as well.

"We will continue to meet whatever criteria that is required.

"If there are new standards, they need to apply to all venues that host AFL games."

Kennett urged the AFL on Wednesday to undertake a wide-ranging examination of the ground during the off-season to avoid a repeat of problems highlighted this year.

Despite the surface receiving a tick of approval last weekend when it hosted two AFL games and the Bledisloe Cup rugby Test, Kennett remains unconvinced and says none of next month's finals should be played at the venue.

"I would prefer no finals played there but that isn't my decision, of course," Kennett said.

"But I think over summer we've got to make some major decisions about usage of the ground next year and beyond.

"And I think we've got to review the actual composition of the surface of the ground above the car park."

Ground management are confident the stadium will be ready if needed to host an AFL final.

"We have no doubts the AFL will make a decision based on merit and not emotive comments," Lane said.

Kennett was outraged last week after watching players slipping and sliding throughout the Hawthorn-St Kilda round 17 match.

The surface recovered well after last weekend's intensive football, according to the Western Bulldogs and stadium bosses.

Kennett remains wary, but conceded the resurgence of controversy over the turf had forced the AFL and ground management to try harder to improve the playing area.

"We're always going to have a compromised surface there, unfortunately, because of the roof, etcetera," Kennett said.

"All that we can ask for is the surface be in as safe a condition as possible.

"I think all the focus over recent weeks has drawn the focus of both the managers of Etihad and the AFL to the quality of the surface and I hope that work continues to go on."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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