‘Own goal’: Scott unhappy with MCG surface after Ed Sheeran concerts

Geelong coach Chris Scott has criticised the Melbourne Cricket Club for staging two blockbuster Ed Sheeran concerts at the MCG so close to the start of the season.

Around 10,000 square metres of turf was laid at the venue on March 9 after the surface was damaged by the shows on Sheeran’s Mathematics Tour, which were attended by about 215,000 people less than a fortnight before round one. Trucks were used to set up Sheeran’s stage and matting was placed on the playing field to accommodate fans.

Chris Scott is not happy at the state of the MCG after Ed Sheeran’s two concerts at the venue.Credit:Wade Pearce

Players across the two games at the MCG had trouble keeping their feet on a surface which Scott said players had reported were of varying firmness.

Star defender Tom Stewart hurt his knee on the newly laid surface, while Carlton forward Harry McKay slipped late in the game on Thursday night against Richmond on the fresh turf.

Scott was initially reluctant to criticise the ground after his team started their premiership defence with a 22-point loss but could not hide his disappointment at the state of the field.

“I think it’s an interesting discussion for others to have,” Scott said. It’s distasteful when the coach of a losing team talks about the surface. It’s worthy of discussion.”

Pressed further on the matter, Scott described the decision to stage two concerts so close to round one as an “own goal”.

“I’m relaying this. I’ve got an opinion that I’ll keep to myself. The issue there is, there are differences on the ground now,” Scott said. “Some bits that are really firm, and you’ll keep your feet and other bits that are really soft, and you can’t keep your feet.

“The point that is raised, it’s not a criticism, it’s not my area, it’s been a long time since the grand final. It’s the biggest game in the land, it’s the best ground in the world in my view.

“To compromise the surface is a strange decision to make voluntarily. If stuff happens and the weather is beyond your control, fair enough, but it was an own goal, I reckon.”

Scott’s opposing number Craig McRae, who watched Sheeran play, said earlier this week he had no concerns over the standard of the surface.

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