Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has denied that his side made an official complaint about the surface at Bankwest Stadium after losing a pair of players to suspected ACL injuries in his side’s 26-12 win over the Dragons.
Both Victor Radley and Sam Verrills were forced off the field following eerily similar plays where they attempted a sharp change of direction before their knees buckled and were forced to come off the ground in the first half.
The injuries had a debilitating impact on the Roosters. They conceded a 10-0 lead to go into half-time with scores tied, as the Dragons pounced.
However, despite the injuries leaving his side on a sombre mood after a gutsy win, Robinson said he would leave the assessment of the playing surface to the experts.
“I heard that somebody said there was a formal complaint, we didn’t even mention it in the box,” he told Nine after the game.
“We’re not experts in that. If someone wants to look at it, they can, but we’re just dealing with two guys that have had ACLs.
“That’s up to someone else to worry about. I’m not concerned about the ground or anything like that, I’m concerned about the two guys in the sheds.”
Acting NRL CEO Andrew Abdo revealed that the league would assess the surface at Bankwest Stadium in light of the injuries suffered by Radley and Verrill.
Radley goes down injured
“Player safety is obviously a massive concern for us. You never like to see players getting injured,” he told Nine after the game.
“I know there’s a been a lot spoken about it, we’ll have to take a good look.
“The playing surface has had a lot of wear and tear, but it was tested before the game and was passed as stable and safe.
“We’re getting it tested first thing tomorrow morning and if we have any concerns around the safety of the pitch, then we’ll move the game.”
Robinson and Abdo’s comments came after Nine’s sideline reporter and Roosters great Brad Fittler said that players had been complaining of the “sticky” nature of the turf.
“The players were saying that their feet were getting caught, it was very sticky,” Fittler said.
“This is the 10th game since May 28, so I think everyone understood these grounds were going to cop a bit of a flogging.
“Who’s to say if it’s one week late going back to clubs, but this is the scenario we’re in at the moment.”
Following the pair of knee injuries to the Roosters stars, Bankwest Stadium released a statement on the ground’s condition.
“The stadium turf has been holding up well under heavy playing schedule,” the statement read.
Verrills carried off after worrying injury
“Signs of wear and tear are a result of the winter rye grass not getting sufficient time to grow between events, but pre-game testing indicated the surface is stable and safe.
“Any injuries to players are a concern, the stadium team will work with the NRL and clubs to ensure the best possible surface for each and every game.”
Following the statement, NRL analyst Phil Gould suggested that the injuries may be simply down to bad luck, rather than a poor surface.
“The stadium grass was actually tested earlier this week. The NRL called for a test on it in light of what we saw at Campbelltown last week,” he said.
“So it was cleared during the week for tonight. Maybe it’s just bad luck what happened. Maybe it’s not the surface.”
Commenting at the time of Verrills’ injury, Fittler compared the Bankwest surface to that of Suncorp Stadium’s earlier on in the season.
“In Suncorp when we first played there, the Roosters played the first game and a few blokes did their knees on that day,” he said.
“It just at the moment looks very sandy. It’s very patchy, there’s not much grass.
“It’s a bit different to Campbelltown and it’s a different grass to Campbelltown.
“It’s something I’m sure Peter V’landys and Andrew Abdo will be having a very close look at.”
The injuries were so shocking, that Nine’s commentators Andrew Johns and Phil Gould could not bare to watch.
“Sam Verrils, same thing. Oh I can’t watch that,” Andrew Johns said on commentary on Nine.
Roosters coach denies official complaint
“No-one around, and he’s grabbed the back of his knee,” Gould added.
“Well it can’t be the surface, surely? He just runs, there’s nothing going on. Yep, that’s a bad sign. Dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Talented young player. Just a little step and the knee gives way.”
The reaction was the same from Johns when Radley went down in the 8th minute of the match.
“This is bad,” he said.
“That’s not good when you see a player, with no-one around, change direction. I hope it’s not an ACL. His importance to this team, the way he plays, he’s like a second halfback – he sort of is the halfback. He links the side from sideline to sideline.
“You can see Trent Robinson, he knows how important Victor is.
“The worrying thing for Victor, when you completely tear your ACL, you get 10 seconds of the worst pain and then it just goes, and you think, ‘Hang on, I’m right’, then it just wobbles all over the shop.”