M Collins & Sons Returf Sydney Cricket Ground following Sydney Swans elimination from AFL final series

Posted on May 11th, 2012

2010 will be remembered by AFL fans as the third occasion when a Grand final was tied in the history of the game.

On 25 September, 2010 Collingwood and St Kilda fought out a 68 all draw after St Kilda levelled the score 29 minutes into the final quarter in front of 100,016 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The Sydney Swans were eliminated 14 days earlier by the Western Bulldogs 77-72 in a nail biting game after the Swans held a comfortable lead until half way through the third quarter. Meanwhile back at the Swans home ground, SCG curator, Tom Parker was also biting his nails for a very different reason.

Tom Parker had planned to utilise a window of opportunity to rejuvenate the SCG playing surface between the end of the 2010 AFL ground usage by the Swans and the commencement of the NSW Cricket season on 21 October 2010. The renovation was dependent upon whether the Swans went all the way to the Grand Final because there was inadequate time to resurface and establish the turf after the Grand Final and before the cricket season.

The SCG turf surface was replaced 10 years ago when the ground was reconstructed and Tom Parker decided in the autumn of 2010 that the turf required replacement in order to improve the surface levels and the turf quality in preparation for the 2010 Cricket season. This year’s events feature the Ashes tour by England and a one day International against Sri Lanka.

The SCG would be under the spotlight of world cricket fans and Tom Parker was anxious to ensure the ground will be presented in the condition that the international cricket fraternity expect.

The SCG had awarded the contract to strip the existing grass surface and replace it with washed Legend Couch to M Collins & Sons (Contractors) Pty Limited.

M Collins & Sons Managing Director, Matt Collins, knew the contract was dependent upon the Sydney Swans not proceeding into the historic 2010 grand final. So when he received Tom’s message late in the evening after the Swans lost to the Western Bulldogs, it was all systems go.

M Collins & Sons are proud of their association with the SCG throughout the Company’s 100 year history. Over the years, the Company has specialised in providing cricket wicket soils, turf and topdressing materials and has undertaken construction works including SCG’s reconstruction in 2000 and the laying of the Sydney Football Stadium in 1988.

Matt Collins said, “Legend Couch turf had been selected for the project because of the proven wear characteristics and its suitability in Sydney . Other couch varieties were considered however the Legend couch was the preferable turf variety chosen by Tom Parker.”

M Collins and Sons staff, under the direction of John Matthews, commenced work at the SCG on 14 September,  and the removal of the existing turf and the placement of growing media proceeded very smoothly until Tom Parker’s visit to the turf farm at Camden on Friday 17 September, just prior to the turf harvesting commencing.

Whilst Tom was at the farm, suddenly there was a loud ‘bang’ and the power immediately switched off. Tom left the farm and drove out to see that a bushfire had commenced across the road. Matt Collins was concerned because the farms two 500 kw transformers had gone offline and powering the washplant to wash the turf to commence turfing at the SCG presented another challenge. Tom rang Matt and offered immediate assistance to keep the program on track.

Fortunately, Integral Energy discovered the cause of the disruption were two dead magpies near the transformers. Power was reinstated to enable Col Ramm and his staff to commence the turf washing as planned the following day. This continued unabated until the 18,000 square metres of Legend Couch was fully laid at the hallowed ground.

Col Ramm, who managed the turf harvesting and transport, was extremely pleased with the strength of the Legend Couch as it was mechanically washed.  Each jumbo roll was washed free of soil and organics and rerolled into tight rolls with minimal breakage occurring.

John Matthews directed the turf laying operations on site at the SCG and oversaw that every roll of turf was neatly positioned and abutted the adjoining roll minimising any gaps between the rolls.

As scheduled, the Cricket NSW season commenced at the SCG 20 days later after the turf laying was completed. Matt Collins said “The SCG staff had once again done an exceptional job preparing the cricket wicket and the outfield in the available time. They are very confident the surface will be presented in top order at the forthcoming Ashes Test in January.”

Latest News

Latest Blogs