AFL coaches not worried about MCG surface after repairs
AFL coaches have dismissed concerns over the state of the MCG playing surface ahead of a bumper schedule of round-one fixtures.
About half of the famous venue's turf was replaced as it underwent a $1 million repair job following two Ed Sheeran concerts this month, and the MCC has worked round the clock to bring the surface up to scratch.
It has been assessed for safety issues and given the green light for the blockbuster Richmond-Carlton season opener on Thursday night
Tigers triple-premiership coach Damien Hardwick, who enjoyed "a few beers" at one of Sheeran's MCG shows, laughed off suggestions the new turf might not be safe for players.
"I went to Ed Sheeran and it was well worth it," Hardwick said.
"It was an unbelievable concert, so whatever condition it's in ... I don't give a s***."
Adopting a serious tone, Hardwick said: "They'll do a great job.
"The 'G is always in good nick ... it's a really good deck and I'm sure it will be fine."
Up to 300,000 fans are expected to attend AFL fixtures at the MCG in round one.
The schedule features four matches - Richmond-Carlton, Collingwood-Geelong, Melbourne-Bulldogs and Hawthorn-Essendon - over four days.
Like Hardwick, Magpies coach Craig McRae went to a Sheeran concert and said he has no concerns over the surface.
But he will be a keen onlooker when the Tigers and Blues kick off the season.
"At the moment we've got no reason to (be concerned)," McRae said.