Sport AFL ANZ Stadium ‘completely unacceptable’

ANZ Stadium ‘completely unacceptable’

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The AFL Players Association has slammed the safety standards at ANZ Stadium after Jarryd Roughead was lucky to escape with a minor injury after sliding into exposed bolts.

Venue management and the AFL are investigating the incident which prompted Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson to suggest the Swans might be better off playing all of their home games at the SCG.

Hawthorn forward Roughead came into contact with protruding bolts in the cement close to the perimeter fence during the third quarter of Saturday night’s game after being pushed over the goal-line by Swans defender Dane Rampe.

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Roughead, playing his first match back following a cancer scare, suffered scratches to his back and had his jumper torn.

The AFLPA said in a statement that the venue had once again breached safety standards.

“It is completely unacceptable from an occupational health and safety perspective to have players exposed to a dangerous situation like that,” said the AFLPA.

“It is particularly disappointing given the issues we’ve had with the venue previously, including metal pegs being found on the playing surface during a game and generally sub-standard playing surface conditions.”

The Bulldogs played Parramatta in a NRL game at the venue on Friday. Photo: Getty
The Bulldogs played Parramatta in a NRL game at the venue on Friday. Photo: Getty

ANZ Stadium management said they would investigate the incident in conjunction with the AFL.

The bolts are used to secure an emergency fire extinguisher at the southern end of the arena and sit behind the fenceline for all events other than AFL games.

The Swans’ contract to play at the venue expires next year, but there have been suggestions they may not play there in 2016.

“We don’t mind playing at this venue, it’s a good enough venue,” said Clarkson.

“The challenge is combining the two codes and if rugby league want to have this ground and we play all our games at the SCG, then that might be the best option for our code.”

The incident was the latest in a chequered history for the AFL at the venue, although most of the previous issues have concerned the quality of the playing surface.

Most of those problems have occurred the day after a rugby league game, with the ground again undergoing a reconfiguration following Friday night’s NRL match between Parramatta and Canterbury.

“It’s not ideal,” Clarkson said.

“The AFL do an outstanding job in terms of making sure the ground is as good as it can possibly be, but this venue has got its challenges.

“Playing rugby league the night before and you’ve got to replace grass, pull back stands, do all that sort of thing, it’s hardly an ideal preparation for a top level clash between two really, really good sides.

“That will always be a significant challenge at this venue.

“It’s the only venue in the league that has to prepare for two different codes in two days and just makes it really really difficult.

“I suppose that’s why everyone’s preference is the SCG rather than this oval when it comes to playing in Sydney.”

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