Is this ground fit to host a final?

The surface of AAMI stadium during a round 8 Super Rugby clash between the Rebels and the Hurricanes. Photo / Getty
The surface of AAMI stadium during a round 8 Super Rugby clash between the Rebels and the Hurricanes. Photo / Getty

AAMI Park ground staff are working feverishly to repair the stadium's maligned surface in time for Sunday's A-League elimination final between Melbourne City and Perth Glory.

A Friday night Super Rugby game between the Melbourne Rebels and Wellington again wreaked havoc with the pitch, with Hurricanes captain Dane Coles labelling it as "quite dangerous" to play on.

Since a disease took hold of the sections of the grass the traditionally pristine surface has struggled to cope under the strain of A-League, Super Rugby and NRL matches.

It is soccer sides City and Melbourne Victory that have suffered most from the cutting up of the ground that resembled little more than a sandpit in parts on Friday night, as the uneven surface makes it hard for players to control the ball.

City coach John van't Schip expressed concern on Saturday morning about all Australian grounds that A-League clubs have to share with rugby union and league sides.

As for what he is expecting from AAMI Park on Sunday, van't Schip said he had faith in the stadium's groundsmen.

"I am confident that they will put the best possible pitch up there for us," van't Schip said.

"I know it's not a good time, not only for us but looking at the game yesterday evening in Brisbane I thought the pitch was terrible as well.

"It doesn't help the game that we want to play, but that's the period of the year that we're in and we just have to cope with it, all the teams are sharing with the other codes.

"I was very happy with the pitch the last game we played (against Adelaide last week), it looked good. The result wasn't good, but the pitch was at least in better shape than it was before."

It is the rugby union scrums in particular which dig up the surface most.

Sections of turf at the southern end of the ground have been replaced in the past fortnight, but that end of the pitch continues to suffer most.

"There were three areas of the pitch that suffered from damage in areas where there were scrums last night," an AAMI Park spokeswoman said on Saturday morning.

"They're being repaired today to ensure the best possible condition for tomorrow."

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd echoed Coles' sentiments on Friday night, saying the pitch quality is a "bit of an issue" at the moment.

"Julian Savea tripped in that area where they scored that first try and I guess it is just an area and they need to get on top on and sort out," Boyd said.

"It's probably not good enough."

- news.com.au

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