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MCG under fresh attack as AFL star says turf made him ‘nervous’


Carlton star Sam Docherty has lashed the state of the repaired MCG turf and says he feared for his safety when he was playing at the ground.

A week out from the AFL season-opener between the Blues and Richmond, groundskeepers were in a mad scramble to fix the surface following two huge Ed Sheeran concerts at the venue.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: MCG’s million-dollar mission to fix surface.

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The repair job reportedly cost around $1 million and the AFL said it was completely confident there would be no issues.

However, on Friday night – the second AFL clash at the venue in two days – there was player carnage and Geelong coach Chris Scott was unimpressed with the state of the ground.

Scott said the venue had scored an “own goal” with its management of the playing surface.

The MCG turf after the Ed Sheeran concert and a patched-up section before the season-opener. Credit: AAP

Docherty and his Blues played in a thrilling draw against Richmond on Thursday night, and now he has joined the chorus of concern.

“Having been a person who has done a couple of ACLs (anterior cruciate ligament injuries), I was extremely nervous when I walked out there pre-game and saw the differences in the turf,” Docherty told 3AW.

“Stuff that has been there for a while and then the newly re-laid stuff. I was surprised there weren’t any injuries in our game and watching (Friday night) was probably what I expected to happen.

“There is a fairly significant difference between the two turfs. The newly re-laid stuff was quite hard but did move when you went over it. The grass spat up a bit, and then, (with) the old MCG turf, they put so much water trying to get the new grass to sit in, that was really soft.

“So it definitely presented some level of risk in my eyes and the MCG took that punt. They would have known what they were doing by taking the MCG contest.”

The issue flared on Friday night when Cats players Tom Stewart and Sam De Koning had to leave the field with knee injuries in their loss to Collingwood.

While De Koning returned, Stewart was subbed out of the game.

Tom Stewart walks off the MCG on Friday night with his leg in a serious brace. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

It is unclear whether the surface played a role in the two injuries.

“It’s been a long time since the grand final,” Scott said.

“It’s the biggest game in the land and it’s the best ground in the world, in my opinion.

“So to compromise the surface is a strange decision to make voluntarily. Stuff happens and the weather is beyond your control, fair enough.

“But it was an own goal, I reckon.”

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Scott initially was reticent to buy into the debate ahead of Round 1 about the MCG turf.

“It’s an interesting discussion for others to have – it’s distasteful when the coach of the losing team talks about the surface,” Scott said post-game.

“But it’s worthy of discussion.”

Scott was then asked about the feedback from players.

“I’m relaying this … the issue is there are differences on the ground now,” he said.

“There are some bits that are really firm, and you can keep your feet, and other bits that are really soft and you can’t keep your feet.”

– With AAP

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Source: 7News