Fears for Arena turf after concert
Fears for Arena turf after concert

Western Force have been forced to switch their pre-season trials against Samoa A and Argentina Pampas from Arena Joondalup to nib Stadium amid fears of surface damage ahead of the NAB Challenge western derby clash between West Coast and Fremantle.

The Friday Force games are two weeks after the Big Day Out and just four days before the NAB Challenge game.

The move to nib Stadium will give the Force an opportunity to play on the new surface for the first time.

However, if the Arena surface doesn't recover in time the Eagles-Dockers clash could be transferred to Patersons Stadium.

WAFC chief executive Gary Walton said a turf management plan would be implemented following the Big Day Out and the success of that plan would determine whether the derby went ahead at Joondalup.

"The aim is to make sure that the oval is in the appropriate state and standard for an AFL game," Walton said.

"I would expect the game would go ahead at Joondalup.

"The AFL wanted these games taken away from the main city centres and this was an opportunity to reward the work that West Perth has done in the northern regions. The venue was the right one for us to go to."

But Walton confirmed the WAFC had a contingency plan to shift the game to Patersons Stadium if the surface did not meet AFL standards.

Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett said his club believed the game should have been shifted from Arena Joondalup once the Big Day Out was scheduled there.

"We were disappointed that the game wasn't shifted after that," he said. "The surface has got to be right and that is why we would like it to be played at Patersons Stadium. Hopefully they can get it to the standard we need after the Big Day Out, but there is a significant risk."

The Force will still play their first trial against Samoa A in Rockingham next Friday.

"We're very pleased to be able to stage a regional pre-season match in Rockingham and we know there is fantastic support for rugby in the area, RugbyWA chief executive Mark Sinderberry said.

"We're also excited about providing our supporters with their chance to see our team in action at their home ground prior to the beginning of the season."

The West Australian

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