AFL star Sam Docherty admits safety concerns over patched MCG turf: ‘I was extremely nervous’
Carlton star Sam Docherty has lashed out at the condition of the repaired MCG turf and says he feared for his safety as he played on the ground.
A week before the AFL season opener between the Blues and Richmond, groundsmen were in a mad scramble to fix the surface after two big Ed Sheeran concerts at the venue.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: MCG’s million dollar surface repair mission.
Analysis, local football and biggest moments, Seven and 7plus are home to football shows for every fan. Stream them all for free on 7plus >>
The repair reportedly cost around $1 million, and the AFL said it was absolutely confident there would be no problems.
But on Friday night – the second AFL duel at the venue in two days – a player slaughter ensued, and Geelong coach Chris Scott was unfazed by the state of the ground.
Scott said the venue scored an “own goal” with its management of the pitch.
Docherty and his Blues played in a thrilling draw against Richmond on Thursday night and now he has joined the chorus of concern.
“Being a person who’s had a few ACLs (anterior cruciate ligament injuries) I was extremely nervous going there before the game and seeing the differences in the turf,” Docherty told 3AW.
“Stuff that’s been there for a while and then the newly laid stuff. I was surprised there were no injuries in our game and watching (Friday night) was probably what I expected.
“There is a fairly significant difference between the two lawns. The newly laid stuff was pretty tough but moved when you walked over it. The grass spat a bit, and then (with) the old MCG turf they applied enough water to get the new grass to sit, that was really soft.
“So in my mind it was definitely a bit of a risk and the MCG took that punt. They would have known what they were doing if they entered the MCG competition.”
The problem flared up Friday night when Cats players Tom Stewart and Sam De Koning were forced off the field with knee injuries in their loss to Collingwood.
While De Koning returned, Stewart was substituted out of the game.
It is unclear whether the surface played a role in the two injuries.
“It’s been a long time since the grand finale,” Scott said.
“It’s the biggest game in the country and, in my opinion, the best ground in the world.
“So compromising the surface is an odd voluntary choice. Things happen and the weather is out of your control, fair enough.
“But it was an own goal, I guess.”
Scott was initially reluctant to engage in the pre-Round 1 debate on the MCG turf.
“It’s an interesting discussion for others – it’s distasteful when the losing team’s coach talks about the surface,” Scott said after the game.
“But it’s worth discussing.”
Scott was then asked for player feedback.
“I’m passing that along…the problem is there are differences on the ground now,” he said.
“There are some parts that are really firm and you can hold your feet and other parts that are really soft and you can’t hold your feet.”
– With AAP
https://7news.com.au/sport/afl/afl-star-sam-docherty-admits-to-safety-fears-over-patched-up-mcg-turf-i-was-extremely-nervous-c-10085705 AFL star Sam Docherty admits safety concerns over patched MCG turf: ‘I was extremely nervous’