Socceroos forward Andrew Nabbout has returned to Melbourne Victory older, wiser and with the tools to complete some unfinished business with the A-League giants.
Sydney FC have moved their top-of-the-table A-League clash with Perth Glory from the SCG after Saturday night’s farcical match with Melbourne Victory.
The Round 26 match, scheduled for Thursday 18 April, has been moved to Netstrata Jubilee Stadium to avoid concerns over the Test cricket venue’s surface.
A-League officials and SCG managers have been roundly criticised after Victory midfielder Terry Antonis suffered a knee injury on a poor section of turf in Saturday’s match.
While matches for other sports will continue, the ground has been deemed unsuitable for football, which requires an even surface.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat labelled the playing surface “dangerous” but A-League boss Greg O’Rourke steered away from using similar language after meeting with SCG chiefs on Monday and agreeing to move Sydney FC’s last remaining fixture there this season.
“We acknowledge that the playing surface was, and would be, playable and safe for A-League football as verified by two independent expert reports in days prior to the match as per our normal process,” he said.
“The SCG’s wicket block, though, compromises the uniformity of the field for football in particular.”
“We appreciate all the work that the SCG Trust has undertaken to accommodate an unprecedented amount of activity on the SCG in recent months and we will continue to work with them in regards to venue usage in the future.”
It remains to be seen whether the SCG will host Sydney FC’s home final, and possible grand final, which will be determined closer to the season’s end.
On Monday, Victory distanced themselves from possible legal action from the injury but urged the sport to learn from the incident.
Victory chief Trent Jacobs told radio station SEN he believed the injury was “in part due” to the surface, but the club “wouldn’t go for” legal action at this stage.
“It was away from the ball and any other player… (it) has to be related to the pitch,” Jacobs said.
“What we’re now asking for is a review on how it occurred.
“We need to make sure the playing surface is best to facilitate the aesthetics and the visual play we all want and the workplace for the players is safe.
“Should A-League games be played on surfaces where there is an existing cricket wicket? Our view is it shouldn’t.”
Sydney FC has been forced into moving home matches away from Allianz Stadium this season as the ground is being redeveloped.
There were no such issues with the SCG during an early-season derby with Western Sydney, the club’s opponents this Saturday night.