Ground troubles force Freo shift
Ground troubles force Freo shift

Northam has again became a problem pre-season venue for the AFL with the league stepping in to move a Fremantle scratch match from the town.

Officials have deemed the ground not up to AFL standard and have shifted the Dockers' March 9 NAB Cup match against Western Bulldogs to Mandurah's Bendigo Bank Stadium.

West Coast will now visit Northam as part of their pre-seson community program.

AFL general manager of broadcasting, scheduling and legal affairs Simon Lethlean said the WA Football Commission, the Shire of Northam and turf consultants had all put in considerable work in preparing the surface for a potential match.

While turf works had improved the playing surface there was still significant work and investment required for the surface to meet AFL standards. At this stage it could not be guaranteed that this could be achieved in time.

In 1996 the Dockers were also caught up in a pre-season clash in Northam that also should not have taken place.

Fremantle were supposed to play against Essendon that year but the match was cancelled on the advice of medical officers after the temperature reached 42C degrees.

Both clubs hastily rescheduled a practice clash at Fremantle Oval the next day.

The West Australian

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