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Curators rip up turf from MCG goal square to lay at Gabba for AFL Grand Final

A piece of the MCG is on its way to Queensland and will take its place at the Gabba to ensure the traditional home of the AFL Grand Final remains a part of the biggest day on the football calendar.

It could be called a Grand Final stunt, but it’s been months in the planning between curators at the two grounds ahead of the historic first ever AFL decider player interstate.

On Wednesday morning a refrigerated truck backed in to the bowels of the MCG to collect a special bit of turf that will be transported to Brisbane, then laid at the Gabba ahead of the October 24 decider.

A section of the MCG goal square, which has witnessed some of the Grand Final’s most famous moments, was expertly lifted out by ground staff for replanting at the Gabba next Monday.

It was a slow and steady task to move the MCG turf.
Camera IconIt was a slow and steady task to move the MCG turf. Credit: MCG/Twitter

The piece of turf, measuring 3m by 1m – the AFL goal square is 9m by 6.4m – will be kept alive through a 24-hour journey from Melbourne to Brisbane before being re-laid at the Gabba.

But not all footy fans were receptive to the idea, with some calling it a “waste of money”.

The MCG has been empty since Round 1 when the AFL and most of its teams had to escape to Queensland to keep the 2020 season alive. The Gabba was granted hosting rights to the Grand Final as a reward.

A team of people across Victoria and Queensland, including grass curators, transport experts and horticulturalists, have come together to make the move possible.

An aerial view of the delicate operation.
Camera IconAn aerial view of the delicate operation. Credit: MCG/Twitter

“As we’re moving plant material from one climate to another, we needed to ensure the turf extraction was done in a delicate way not to damage or cause stress to the roots to ensure it survived its long journey to the Gabba,” MCG turf manager Michael Salvatore said.

“We called in our turf provider, HG Turf, to oversee this process with us and to ensure our turf arrives at the Gabba in tip-top shape. Temperature controlled transportation will ensure our hallowed turf will be ready for Brisbane’s climate ahead of the AFL Grand Final.”

After helping remove the turf, Salvatore has handed the next part of the job over to ground staff at the Gabba to make sure the patch finds its place in the goal square.

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