Stadium comes to life with first kick on finished pitch
Premier John Brumby today took the first kick of a football on the new Melbourne Rectangular Stadium’s state-of-the-art playing pitch.
Mr Brumby was joined by Major Projects Minister Tim Pallas and Sport and Recreation Minister James Merlino and said the newly-laid turf pitch had brought the spectacular $267.5 million stadium to life.
“The pitch is the heart of this magnificent stadium. It’s not until you see the turf in place that you realise what a fantastic venue this is going to be for soccer, rugby league and union – and importantly, for Victorian sports fans,” Mr Brumby said.
“This turf, invented in Melbourne, was used for the American Football Super Bowl and will be used for the main stadium at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa this year – it’s a world-class turf that players are going to love.
“Today we can also see just how close to the action the fans will be, with this stadium to provide sports fans with an unparalleled viewing experience.
“With its unique bio-frame roof design, the stadium is an instant icon for Melbourne, with fans of various codes expressing their growing excitement for Melbourne’s first purpose built home for soccer and rugby.
“Fans will have a chance to see the stadium first hand on the blockbuster opening night test match between rugby league powerhouses Australia and New Zealand on 7 May.”
Mr Pallas said the new pitch was one of the most important features of the world-class venue.
“The turf is where all the action happens, which is why we have chosen a high-tech natural turf system for the pitch that uses science to improve its playability and durability,” Mr Pallas said.
“StaLok turf is a Melbourne invention that uses polypropylene fibres to create a net-like structure that binds the turf root system to the sand underneath it. The result is a turf that cushions impacts, is stable and will divot less resulting in greater player comfort.
“It’s also a much tougher turf that wears better and can handle greater weights, which means the stadium can be used more often.”
Sport and Recreation Minister James Merlino said sport-loving Victorians, whether fans of the Melbourne Victory, Storm or Rebels would embrace the new stadium.
“Very soon, Melbourne will finally have its very own, purpose-built stadium to host these three great sporting codes,” Mr Merlino said.
“Each of these sports is experiencing growing interest and popularity and the new stadium will be a world-class stage for further success for soccer, union and league.”