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ANZ Stadium surface should have been better, League admits

Peter Ryan  September 20, 2013 6:41 PM

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Jarrad McVeigh tackles Mitch Robinson during the semi-final between the Sydney Swans and Carlton

We're not in denial about it. It needs to get better
AFL DEPUTY CEO Gillon McLachlan has conceded the surface at ANZ Stadium for last Saturday night's final between Sydney Swans and Carlton should have been better.

He said the AFL remained committed to playing finals at the venue but they had a responsibility to ensure the surface was right.

The AFL is investigating what caused the wings to be slippery on the night and how they might ensure it does not happen in the future.

McLachlan said they weren't ignoring the issue but were acknowledging it was a problem and trying to find a solution.

"The right people have to learn, understand and try to fix it. That is what the expectation is. We're not in denial about it. It needs to get better. We play games at ANZ, particularly our big finals, [and] we've got to get the best surface we can," McLachlan said.

He did not think the surface for the game was dangerous but admitted that the fact players found it difficult to hold their feet in certain parts of the ground had a negative effect on the spectacle.

The AFL has an agreement to play finals at ANZ Stadium until 2016 and is committed to playing big games and finals at the venue.

"We have just got to make sure that the surface is right," McLachlan said.

Meanwhile, the AFL will take an open mind into deciding which teams play extra games at Etihad Stadium in 2014.

The AFL is bound to play two extra games at the venue in 2014 after choosing to play a final at Simonds Stadium in week one of this year's finals when four games were being played in Melbourne.

There was speculation that the Cats might be allocated extra games at the venue as a result of having a home final but McLachlan said such rationale would not be applied to the decision.

"In the end you just try to get the best fit," McLachlan said.

He said such decisions were the responsibility of Simon Lethlean, the AFL's general manager in charge of scheduling.