Roosters coach Trent Robinson says the NRL must adopt AFL guidelines for playing surfaces after new recruit Brett Morris was helped off the field with a suspected MCL injury during his side’s 26-18 win over the Sea Eagles.
Morris will have scans on his left knee after he landed awkwardly in a tackle as he backed up James Tedesco’s break in the shadows of half-time at Lottoland on Saturday night.
The winger’s knee got caught in the sodden turf as a large divot flew into the air.
It’s not the first time Morris has fallen victim to the Brookvale surface, with the veteran injuring himself when his foot sunk into the turf while playing for Canterbury there in 2015.
The state of the surface is now a genuine concern after a pre-season trial game in February had to be moved to Shark Park to avoid any unnecessary risk of player injury.
A few concerns for Brett Morris with mechanism below, main one being MCL sprain as lower leg gets pulled laterally as slides in tackle. Hope no ACL involvement. Also as knee drives into ground PCL/patella can be put under stress but less likely to be the issue #NRLManlyRoosters pic.twitter.com/csrej2qbo0
— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) March 23, 2019
The Sea Eagles travel to New Zealand next week but return to Lottoland on April 6 to take on the Rabbitohs, pending any inquiries into the safety of their surface.
“As a coach you don’t want to come here and complain about Brookvale Oval,” Robinson said.
“But we need to make sure that the standard of the surface is consistent across all NRL teams. It’s not that hard, we’re a professional sport now. We just need to have professional standards across the surface.
“The knee went into the turf and then a clump comes up. It digs right in and twists on that. It shouldn’t go in that far, to be honest.”
The two-time premiership-winning coach called for action, citing the AFL’s diligence when it came to consistency across the board regarding playing conditions.
“It’s probably not right to bring up another code, but they do it well,” he said.
“The AFL has certain restrictions on the ground. It has to be tested to get to AFL standard about the hardness and the softness. There’s a rating, and if you’re not in that rating, you can’t hold your AFL games. We’re not at that level.
“We’ve got an amazing ground and an amazing stadium, but the surface varies. We need to look at that as a game to standardise our fields right across [the board] and make sure there’s a high-quality surface for the athletes we’ve got playing.”
Morris’ injury was the only sour note as Luke Keary’s four first-half try assists killed off the contest before the Sea Eagles tried to mount a late comeback.