Brad Scott buys into Gabba surface debate - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brad Scott buys into Gabba surface debate

Darren Cartwright 01/06/2011 03:50:01 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott says it's time for the Brisbane Lions to be given priority and drop-in pitches be used at the Gabba.

Scott's thoughts will no doubt raise the ire of purists and Queensland Cricket who have fiercely defended the Gabba and its controversial centre wicket block.

A number of ex-Lions players have claimed they have sustained injuries as a direct result of the hardness of the pitch.

Former Lions premiership ruckman Clark Keating said he missed an entire season because of patella tendonitis he attributed to the hardness of the surface.

The cricket wicket area also poses traction problems because it's of a different texture and firmness to the remainder of the playing field.

Scott, who played nine seasons with the Lions, said the Gabba must be seen as a football field during winter and not as a cricket ground that hosts AFL matches.

"The only disappointing thing is the Gabba is still seen as a cricket ground," said Scott on Foxtel's AFL Insider program.

"Even though the major tenants are the Brisbane Lions, which pays most of the bills, (curator) Kevin Mitchell will hate me saying this, it's still seen as a cricket ground.

"For football, a drop-in wicket would be an ideal situation.

"Cricketers don't want that, but it's a football ground in my view in winter and it would be a lot better without a cricket pitch in it."

Keating told AAP it was common knowledge at the club that a lot of injuries were caused by the firmness of ground.

"The cricket pitch caused a lot of injuries to players," Keating said.

"I missed a whole year which I mainly put down to the pitch."

Scott said another anomaly of the wicket was the height of centre bounces.

He said ruckmen had to adjust their style of play at the Gabba, and to a lesser extent at the SCG, where there is a centre wicket area, because the ball soared higher than at any other ground.

A Gabba spokesman said the playing surface met all AFL requirements.

"The Gabba's field of play continues to meet all AFL standards and this has been confirmed by the AFL through independent testing," he said.

"The utmost care goes into preparation of the field by a highly experienced team who work through any issues raised by the hirer to ensure the field is prepared to the standards required for AFL."

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