Representatives of the Sydney Roosters, NRL, South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Cricket and Sports Grounds inspected the Sydney Cricket Ground field of play on Sunday afternoon.
The inspection focused on two sections of the field dominated by rye grass, which were damaged by a combination of wet weather and heavy scrummaging during Saturday night’s Super Rugby match featuring the NSW Waratahs and Queensland Reds.
The winter rye grass areas were not as structurally sound as the rest of the field.
The SCG confirmed that it planned to replace 3000m2 of the surface with ready-to-play Matrix turf from its farm supplies. The SCG has a further 22,000m2 available should further turf replacement be required during the Super Rugby, NRL, AFL and A-League seasons.
The areas to be replaced are the 22m zones when the field is set up in an east-west configuration. For the NRL, the new turf will be partially on the outer edges of the field which is in the traditional north-south orientation.
Prior to the NSW Waratahs fixture, SCG grounds staff had installed sections of ready-to-play turf in other areas of the field of play. The new turf performed strongly.
"The compromised areas of the field were dominated by the winter rye grass and didn’t have the root foundation to stand up to heavy scrummaging," said SCG curator Adam Lewis.
"The rain prior to kick-off softened the surface and made it susceptible to damage.
"Damage to the field of play was anticipated, but not to this level.
"Other areas of the field, where the summer couch grass is dominant, came through the match very well – particularly areas freshly-laid with ready-to-play Matrix turf.
"We’ll start work before dawn on Monday and have the new grass down before the sun sets."
Sydney Roosters CEO Joe Kelly thanked the SCG for "taking such decisive action to replace the damaged turf, ensuring that the surface will not be an issue for Friday’s match".
"Round one will be special for Roosters Members and supporters.
"The ground is iconic and a huge part of our history, and there is no substitute for being there following the SCG’s enhancements to the game-day experience which will create an atmosphere that can’t be matched at home."
The Sydney Roosters will be raring to go in their return to the SCG, and what better way to kick off their 2019 campaign than with a battle against their arch-rivals, the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday night.
Get your tickets today to secure the best seats in the house for Round 1.