Local football players say the surfaces of some of Geelong’s grounds are in a dangerously bad condition in the lead up to season 2017 kicking off on April 1st.
This comes after the AFL women’s grand final was shifted from the Gabba to Metricon stadium due to unsafe conditions as a result of the summer of cricket and two Adele concerts.
Some local players Dscribe spoke to blamed cricket clubs for the poor surfaces, saying the middle of some grounds had been left dangerously hard to play on. And it’s not the first time the region has faced this issue.
Geelong West’s oval was criticised in 2015 after two Roosters were carried off after their knees buckled on the hard surface, as well as some injuries to some of the Under 18 St Marys players (a broken wrist to now Geelong Football club rookie Jack Henry)
East Geelong’s Richmond Crescent ground has experienced issues with the surface just as the Eagles begin their 2017 campaign, with players expressing concern after their first practice match against Birregurra on the 18th of March.
“The middle of the ground was still very hard due to the lack of rainfall over the summer. Obviously, the cricketers work hard to maintain the condition of the pitch which doesn’t help us as it dries up very quickly making it rock solid,” Eagles player Robert Brown said.
Brown said he felt there was an element of danger for his teammates and opponents during Saturdays clash.
“The real danger was being tackled on the middle of the ground as it was basically concrete,” he said.
However Brown said he believed that both the football club and cricket club that use Richmond Crescent were at fault for the ground’s condition, saying there was negligence from both parties.
“They (cricket club) oversee the oval over the summer months. The football club also has a duty of care and should ensure the oval is in a safe condition for players to participate on,” he said.
“The real danger was being tackled on the middle of the ground as it was basically concrete”
Brown acknowledged there was a tension between the East Geelong Football club and Geelong City cricket club.
He also said that he would reconsider playing in a game due to the surface, especially on “dead giveaways such as pot holes, hard mud and lack of grass.”
“Player welfare should be at the forefront of every football match and therefore if the surface isn’t appropriate to play on then I would certainly reconsider playing,” he said.
Dscribe contacted Geelong City cricket club by they declined to comment.
Local St Mary’s products Sam Hosking and Damian McMahon have both overcome foot injuries that have been attributed to a hard surface on football grounds.
Both players said cricket has been played at their home ground at Kardinia park west throughout the summer, and the middle of the ground was hard as a result.
“The first time I injured my ankle I landed flat footed on the hard surface,” McMahon said.
Hosking said his doctors attributed the stress fractures in his foot to the hardness of the grounds at his training ovals. Months later, he suffered the same injury, saying “it was purely a stress reaction from the surface”.
Both players acknowledge the risk of re-injuring their ankle (McMahon) and foot (Hosking).
“(There’s) Always a risk, running 10k a game and standing on the wrong part of the ground,” McMahon said.
They also pointed out St Josephs, St Albans and Geelong West as opposition grounds that they felt had a harder surface.
Hosking also brought up how he was concussed when his head slammed into the turf one year, and McMahon mentioned he had seen ankle injuries as a result of poor care from groundskeepers.
The local football leagues kick off on April 1st (BFL, GDFL) and April 8th (GFL)