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Turf problems Dog Melbourne Victory

Turf problems Dog Melbourne Victory
November 6, 2009

Melbourne Victory has been experiencing problems with the playing surfaces for both its Hyundai A-League and women's W-League games.

After Melbourne Victory unexpectedly drew their round six home A-League game with Wellington Phoenix, Coach Ernie Merrick attacked the Etihad Stadium's playing surface, labelling it "a disgrace."

Merrick went on to blast the multi-purpose football stadium's playing surface adding "I think we would be better (playing) in the car park ... it's baked hard, it's bumpy as, and it certainly doesn't suit our style of play ... it's pretty poor standard."

At that time Melbourne had failed to win any of their four home matches, although they have won two of their subsequent three home fixtures.

In a move to help ensure first class football pitches and player health and safety, Australia's Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) introduced a Pitch Rating System at the start of the 2009/10 A-League season.

The system calls for the captains of visiting teams to evaluate pitches based on their overall quality, hardness, pace and smoothness. Players give each field a mark out of five on all four criteria. After the first 10 rounds of A-League football, Brisbane Roar's Suncorp Stadium has been rated the best pitch in the league, closely followed by Adelaide Unitedâs and Central Coast Mariners' home fields. With these fields all averaging 4 and above, there can be little doubt that the playing surfaces are of a very high quality. Suncorp Stadium's achievement is significant given the demands that rugby league places on that multipurpose venue, especially early in the A-League season.

At the other end of the scale are Melbourne Victory's Etihad Stadium, Newcastle Jets', Energy Australia Stadium and Gold Coast United's Skilled Park.

Positive features of the playing surfaces have also been discovered. Perth Glory's Members Equity Stadium is highly regarded by the players for its smooth surface and softness while the pace of Sydney FC's Sydney Football Stadium is seen as being the best in the A-League, endorsing the club's practice of insisting on watering the surface before kick-off.

Before last week's round 5 W-League fixture, Melbourne Victory's ladies team were forced, due to the condition of the surface, to move the game from Albert Park's Bob Jane Stadium to the city's Veneto Club.

With the Veneto Club having installed a Tiger Turf Soccer Real synthetic surface in May this year, the change of venue saw Melbourne Victory stage the Westfield W-League's first ever game on a synthetic surface.

Click here to contact Tiger Turf via their entry in Australasian Leisure Management Supplier Directory.


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