Roar star McKay fears for new Suncorp pitch

Press Releasein Industry News

Roar midfielder Matt McKay fears his club could slip up when they host Newcastle on a newly laid Suncorp Stadium surface on December 14.
The Milton venue's entire surface was ripped up last week to cater for the Andre Rieu concert extravaganza, which takes place tonight and tomorrow.

A new playing surface will be laid this weekend at a cost of more than $500,000.

Roar coach Frank Farina is confident the new field will "be like Wembley", but McKay isn't as sure.

He can't help thinking about the events of January 20 last year when the Roar needed to beat Sydney FC at home to reach the A-League semi-finals.

A month earlier a Robbie Williams concert was held at Suncorp Stadium, leading to part of the ground being re-laid.

That proved costly for the Roar when Swiss defender Remo Buess slipped on the unstable surface to gift Sydney striker Alex Brosque a goal.

The match finished in a 1-1 draw, with the Sydneysiders reaching the top four instead of the Queenslanders.

"If it ends up costing you a result like it did back in season two when Remo slipped over ... it's not the best," McKay said last night.

"I'm not sure about the scheduling of it all. It sucks that it's in the middle of our season.

"It wouldn't be in the middle of the Broncos' (NRL) season - that's for sure."

Suncorp Stadium general manager Paul Sergeant said the decision had been a simple one.

"Had we not ripped up the turf, the grass underneath would be dead," Sergeant said.

"This has always been in the planning for more than 12 months - it had to be so we could grow the fresh turf."

The entire stadium has been ripped up once before, in September 2003, after players complained about its sandy surface.

Queensland State of Origin centre Justin Hodges and Sydney Roosters forward Craig Fitzgibbon suffered season-ending knee injuries at the ground.

McKay said players could not afford to be worried about possible injury when the Roar took on the Jets on Sunday week.

"But if it happens during the game, that's something they've got to look at," he said.

"The groundsmen there are first-class, so it should be suitable.

"Let's hope it doesn't have any effect on us making the top four and finals."

Farina said discussions with the stadium's chief groundsman had him certain both teams would play on a first-class surface on December 14.

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