Surface tension at WAFL grounds
Claremont Showground was under water last week. Pic: Sharon Smith/WA News

WAFL clubs are hopeful that emergency measures to fix atrocious ground conditions at Medibank Stadium and the Claremont Showground will sustain the playing surfaces until the end of the season.

Subiaco and East Perth have been forced to train away from their Leederville base this week in the wake of heavy rain and three matches on Saturday that transformed the oval into a quagmire.

Claremont are also staying off the Showground for a week after hosting East Fremantle at the venue on the same day in a game spoilt by large pools of water.

The Sharks made an official complaint over the poor state of the ground to the WA Football Commission on Monday.

An emergency meeting was also held between Subiaco and East Perth officials, the City of Vincent and venue manager Turfmaster to fast-track repairs to Medibank Stadium ahead of Saturday's top-of-the-table clash between the two sides.

A hasty recovery plan will involve coring the ground and rolling the turf on Friday to compress the torn-up surface.

Subiaco chief executive Peter Capes said he had been concerned about the state of the oval all year, labelling it a "disgrace".

He said a plan presented to the City of Vincent last year that involved replacing much of the existing clay base with sand would have prevented the oval's sorry condition.

The Lions had asked WAFC maintenance experts in charge of Patersons Stadium to inspect the ground and used their advice to put together the original recommendations.

"It's totally unacceptable, the standard of the oval," Capes said.

"It was completely avoidable and they haven't done anything to avoid it. Our football club had said 'you need to do these things'. They haven't done them. The outcome was always going to be what we've got. It makes the oval look poor."

Medibank Stadium is almost certain to host at least two finals, given East Perth and Subiaco are first and second on the ladder, but fixtures offer a recovery window.

The co-tenanted venue will host only two rounds of matches in August, with club byes and three consecutive away games for East Perth saving the ground from over-use.

City of Vincent acting chief executive Rick Lotznicker was confident a playable surface would be achieved, given the drier weather forecast.

"The city is aware of ongoing drainage issues at Medibank Stadium that contribute to the pooling of water and muddying up of the playing surface and are consulting experts in regard to a long-term plan to potentially upgrade the surface," he said.

"However, this will be at a significant cost."

East Fremantle chief executive Adam Kelly has also questioned the drainage at the Showground, saying his club was "shocked" by the ground's condition.

He pointed out rainfall had not been excessive, with just 14mm falling on game day.

The Showground was already scheduled for a general maintenance session tomorrow that will help dry out the surface.

Claremont football general manager Dean Horsington said the club's bye this weekend fell at a good time. "It'll be fine to play on," he said.

The West Australian

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