Blues star reveals concerns over slippery MCG turf
Carlton veteran Sam Docherty has revealed he had serious concerns about the state of the MCG playing surface before seeing two Geelong players go down with knee injuries.
All-Australian defender Tom Stewart is set for a stint on the sidelines with suspected medial ligament damage after slipping on the famous venue's turf during Friday night's clash with Collingwood.
Cats teammate Sam De Koning also hurt a knee in similar fashion but returned to action.
Docherty, who missed the 2018 and 2019 seasons because of ACL ruptures, played on the MCG in Thursday night's season opener between the Blues and Richmond.
The 145-game defender said a pre-match inspection of the playing surface - about half of which was relaid this month following two Ed Sheeran concerts - had put him on edge.
"I was extremely nervous when I walked out there pre-game and saw the differences in the turf - stuff that has been there for a while and then the newly-relaid stuff," Docherty told 3AW on Saturday.
"I was surprised there weren't any injuries in our game and watching last night was probably what I expected to happen.
"There is a fairly significant difference between the two turfs.
"The newly-relaid stuff was quite hard but did move when you went over it, the grass spat up a bit.
"Then the old MCG turf, they put so much water trying to get the new grass to sit in, that was really soft.
"So it definitely presented some level of risk in my eyes and the MCG took that punt."
Geelong coach Chris Scott was unimpressed with the turf, saying the MCG had scored an "own goal" with its management of the playing surface.
Fellow coaches Damien Hardwick, Michael Voss, Simon Goodwin and Luke Beveridge didn't raise any issues with the turf when asked about it after their matches.
Ahead of the season opener, MCC chief executive Stuart Fox hit back at criticism of the venue operator's management of the playing surface, which arose during the build-up to round one.
"I'm really, really pleased," Fox told SEN on Thursday.
"We finished Saturday night (March 12) and our turf team have been working really hard just finessing (the ground) now.
"When you look out now, there's not a blade of grass out of place."