Marvel Stadium has endured a dismal opening AFL weekend with areas of shifting turf at the AFL-owned ground labelled “absolutely atrocious”.
Major divots and sandy potholes appeared on the pitch during Sunday’s clash between St Kilda and Gold Coast.
Players appeared to be checking their movements on the worst-affected areas, including the wing immediately in front of the team benches.
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Western Bulldogs defender Matthew Suckling was injured on that area during Saturday night’s clash with Sydney.
Suckling said “the ground gave way and I rolled my ankle” but he pulled his punches in a post-match interview, describing the ground overall as being in “pretty good nick”.
Geelong great and Fox Footy commentator Cam Mooney linked the turf to a knee knock suffered by David Swallow on Sunday.
“This ground out here along this wing is absolutely atrocious,” he said.
“You can see where Swallow hurt his right knee, it was probably a little bit of that turf switching under him there.
“There’s a lot of turf being thrown around. It’s not great.”
Jack Steven was one of several players to slip on the sandy turf.
Towering defender Sam Collins sent dirt flying after one sliding effort, creating a divot so severe the emergency umpire jumped from the bench to replace the turf.
The AFL has been contacted for comment.
The turf wasn’t the only issue to plague the stadium on Sunday.
Scoreboard operators had a bad day, giving two early Gold Coast goals to “J.Hogan” in a possible reference to the Fremantle forward.
St Kilda assistant Brendon Lade was introduced as Brendon Lake.
The sound controllers also had a day to forget, missing their cue as the Saints ran through their banner meaning the team broke through the crepe paper to the sounds of Swedish band The Hives.