Last known article of Danny Sullivan whereabouts thanks to Rizzah
. Still after any info for his update...
No improvement in sight for A-League's worst surface
November 1 2012 - 5:11pm
By James Gardiner
WESTS general manager Phil Gardner cannot guarantee the substandard pitch at Energy Australia Stadium will be improved for the Jets' blockbuster against Melbourne on January 10 but said ground staff were managing the situation as best possible.
A survey of A-League captains yesterday nominated the Jets' pitch as the worst of the 10 in the competition, giving it an average of 2.4 out of five.
That assessment was completed at the end of round 18. The Jets beat the Gold Coast 3-2 in that fixture but lost marquee midfielder Fabio Vignaroli to a season-ending knee injury that was blamed in part on the shifting ground.
The pitch has deteriorated further since then. Bare patches and divots were noticeable during the 3-2 win over North Queensland on Sunday.
"The ground has not been renovated for some time," Gardner said.
"Until it is renovated, it's being husbanded through so the Jets can get through their full season. The issue around ground surface is being managed to get it as good as possible. I could not say yes or no if it will be better [for the next game]."
Just who is responsible for the surface is uncertain.
The Knights have the stadium management rights but subcontract labour from Wests to maintain the pitch.
Head groundsman Greig Chadban resigned this month.
Danny Sullivan has taken over and works in conjunction with stadium manager Neville Allan.
Both have been instructed not to comment.
The Herald has learned the bare patches are the result of a weed thegroundsmen are trying to choke out by mowing the grass lower than usual to allow the couch grass to run.
"I don't think there is a shortage of staff . The issue is getting this weed out," Gardner said. "We subcontract labour to the Knights, but they are in charge."
Jets CEO John Tsatsimas has met twice with ground staff and said there was little more they could do.
"They pointed to a growing period and said the oval was in a transition phase," Tsatsimas said.
"We take their points on board and hope it is in better condition for the next game. Are we disappointed? Yes. Is there much we can do about it? Probably not."
The ground is unlikely to return to peak condition until after an arbitration hearing in March that will settle the long dispute between the Knights and Hunter Venues Authority.
There is speculation that after arbitration the Knights would be prepared to discuss relinquishing stadium management rights to HVA in return for compensation.
It is understood the Knights and Wests are reluctant to pour extra resources into the ground until after arbitration.
WESTS general manager Phil Gardner cannot guarantee the substandard pitch at EnergyAustralia Stadium will be improved for the...