Brookvale Oval could become the first professional rugby league ground in Australia with synthetic turf but it may come at the expense of the game, warns commentator Paul "Fatty" Vautin.
The former Manly-Warringah captain said he did not support the idea of synthetic turf at the ground. "Rugby league is a winter game and you've got to play to the conditions in front of you. If you had an artificial turf, you wouldn't get that," he said. A major part of the game was adjusting to the conditions.
"In perfect conditions you might get a fast, open game but you don't want that all the time," Vautin said. He had watched many NFL games on synthetic pitches in the US and players wore padding and long pants to avoid grazes.
Vautin's comments come after Warringah Mayor Michael Regan confirmed yesterday he had approached ARLC chairman John Grant, Eagles chairman Scott Penn and NSWRL officials about changing the ground to artificial turf. The oval could be used in all weather, would be cheaper to maintain and usage could increase from 15 to 60 hours a week. "The biggest criticism we get about the Sea Eagles is the community has limited access to the oval," he said. "If the NRL would let elite players on that surface we could bring a proposal to council and fast track it."
Former player John Gibbs was open to the idea if the surface was as good as people said it was. "Brookie is the most complained-about surface among players. It's a bog when there's a lot of rain," he said.
However, NRL general manager of football operations Nathan McGuirk said: "We have strong reservations about playing elite rugby league on synthetic surfaces".
Source & More: manly-daily.whereilive.com.au