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Story behind attention-grabbing playing surface

Posted: 12pm 01 Sep 2021

The NRL action on the field at Moreton Daily Stadium has been exhilarating, but the playing surface itself has grabbed the attention of players and officials.

And the Dolphins’ ground crew has worked with Twin View Turf and Lawn Solutions Australia to ensure it has looked magnificent on television screens across the country. It will be in the spotlight again this weekend, when the stadium hosts Intrust Super Cup and NRL action on Sunday.

The playing surface uses TifTuff turf, which was installed during the stage two of the stadium’s development - the first in Australia to use it.

Twin View Turf Project Manager Trent Hobson says there is about 10,000sq m of the turf at the venue and it has now been used on the club’s training field.

“It’s drought-tolerant, lower input fertiliser-wise and rapid repair, so it wears much better than other varieties,” Trent says.

“We’ve now got it on probably 10 sports fields across Brisbane and the Gold Coast now.”

Lawn Solutions Australia’s Simon Adermann says others across Australia have followed suit.

“Nationally, it’s on Campbelltown Stadium that’s also hosted some NRL games in Sydney but right around Australia I’d say it would probably be on 50-60 sporting fields now,” Simon says.

“This was the first to have a full field and then it’s expanded, not to this exposure, but in school fields, high-wear areas … South Bank in Brisbane and a number of other sporting fields around Australia.”

Buzz about surface

Dolphins General Manager Football Operations Grant Cleal says the playing surface was a hot topic of conversation at the NRL double-header on August 29.

“It’s what everyone was talking about, pre-match and even post-match – among all the players that I spoke with and all the NRL team staff,” Grant says.

He says the Channel 9 floor manager, Tony Chalmers, who covers rugby league told him it was the best surface he’d seen anywhere at any rugby league ground.

“It was pretty good rap I thought,” Grant says.

“Because of the type of venue it is – a genuine multipurpose venue with the A-League, our games, NRL games, we’ve had a few carnivals, Australian Schoolboys Championships – this is what it looks like every week. It’s unbelievable.

“At one point, over a 10-day period we’d had three A-League games and two Intrust Super Cup days consisting of Colts and first grade. It had some traffic on it. The women’s competition was in between that and they played about 28 games over a three-day period. It holds up well.”

Winning combination

It started with choosing the right grass and relies on a team to keep it in tip-top condition. That team is Twin View Turf, Lawn Solutions Australia, Grant Cleal and the grounds grew which includes Dolphins’ players Tyson Cleal and Ryan Turner.

“As far as the redevelopment of the stadium goes, I reckon it’s the best thing we’ve done … the decision to put this down. These guys made the approach to us to think about putting this down and it’s the best decision we’ve made,” Grant says.

“You can have 1000 things go wrong, but if your field looks good everyone tends to focus on that.”

Simon says TifTuff turf was bred in the US, by Dr Brian Schwartz from Tifton University.

“It was bred for its drought tolerance. It came to Australia in 2016. Lawn Solutions Australia has the exclusive licence in Australia and this grass here is the only grass in the world that has been accredited with a Smart Approved Watermark for its drought tolerance,” he says.

“Its nickname is the ‘smart grass’, so that’s the benefit of it, its wearability, it’s less nutrient-dependent and its ability to handle high wear. It’s fantastic.

“It’s also a great domestic grass if you’ve got dogs or children and you want to put something in that’s going to handle wear and use less water, it’s fantastic in a domestic yard.”

Simon says the relationship between all three parties is vital to ensuring the surface is at its best every week.

“It’s in everyone’s best interest to do that. We don’t know what’s going to happen here in the next couple of years so there’s an opportunity for everyone to make this the best and get the best exposure out there,” he says.

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