The training field at Gosch’s Paddock, which is home to Melbourne’s rugby and A-League teams, has replaced over 129,000ft² (12,000m²) of turf to provide greater practice conditions and also help save water consumption.
The upgrade to the playing surface has been praised by players who claim it’s “like training on freshly-laid carpet” and doesn’t “tear up as much”, which is ideal for the Melbourne Rebels and their scrummaging sessions.
“It provides what we are looking for with our training activities – the correct level of hardness, a good cover of grass, and a surface which is even and well kept,” said Lachlan Penfold, Melbourne Storm director of performance.
The surface has been grown by Melbourne & Olympic Parks (M&OP) horticulturists who claim to have scientifically boosted its soil characteristics to be tailored to Melbourne’s climate. The turf is said to be exceptionally draught tolerant, meaning it will require less water to maintain and reduce water consumption.
It is also claimed the enhanced soil will help reduce potential injuries, while also enabling nutrients to be locked in and harnessed by the root system, rather than contaminating natural waterways.
The turf was planted nearly 18-months prior at an off-site location, and was developed to match the game-day conditions inside AAMI Park and cope with wear and tear of both professional practice and recreation – repairing and recovering in record time.
The entire ready-play turf was then transferred onto the re-levelled and enhanced layers of earth at Gosch’s Paddock.