Allianz pitch perfect for Sunday

Jamie Barkley, CEO of the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust is adamant the playing surface at Allianz Stadium on Sunday will be in peak condition.

The Allianz Stadium pitch will be in 'peak' condition when Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers take the field on Sunday for the showpiece event on the Hyundai A-League calendar.

Now in its 25th year, the Sydney venue will be hosting its third Hyundai A-League Grand Final, the same number as Melbourne-s Etihad Stadium.

“The pitch will look fantastic and is now at its peak,” said Jamie Barkley, Chief Executive Officer of the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust.

“The weather conditions have been good, and hopefully will remain good, and it has allowed us to prepare an excellent pitch which is obviously good news for everyone.

“A lot of planning has gone into providing a pitch commensurate with the importance of the A-League Grand Final.”

Sunday-s grand final will be the first at the Moore Park venue for five years dating back to Newcastle Jets- 1-0 win against Central Coast Mariners in 2008.

The portents are positive for the Sydney team if history is any gauge, with Wanderers forward Mark Bridge scoring the winner for the Jets on that occasion, in what was the third Hyundai A-League season.

The stadium will host a NSW Waratahs Super Rugby match on Friday evening, but Barkley remains extremely confident of the playing surface-s durability after it was re-laid five months ago.

“We rebuilt the playing surface in November, being the best time to grow grass, so it is effectively a brand new pitch,” he said.

“The re-laid turf is a couch grass, which provides a very stable and solid surface, and will not break up. So players can be assured that the pitch will, not only look good, but be very highly stable.”

The venue has hosted some of Australia-s biggest football matches over the past quarter of a century, including the Qantas Socceroos- epic 1993 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Diego Maradona-led Argentina, and the maiden Hyundai A-League Grand Final in 2006.

Barkley says he and his team are “absolutely excited” to be hosting their third A-League decider following those in 2008 and 2006.

“It is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar,” he says. “It is great news that the match is a sell-out, and it should be a perfect way to end the season.

“We can be assured with the nature of Allianz stadium that Sunday-s atmosphere will be one of the best in the stadium-s 25-years history.”