Jets look to state government to pitch in

With the pitch at Hunter Stadium in need of serious attention, Jets CEO Robbie Middleby says the club is relying on state government funding.

The playing surface at Hunter Stadium wasn't a pretty sight this season. While the Newcastle Jets were battling to stay in finals contention, the green patchwork quilt wasn-t much help to their cause.

The pitch was re-surfaced before Newcastle-s high-profile friendly with David Beckham-s LA Galaxy in 2010 but limited funding meant only portions of the grass were relaid, rather than the whole pitch.

Fixing the surface is out of the club-s hands, according to Jets CEO Robbie Middleby, who says it-s a matter for Hunter Venues, which owns the stadium, and the state government.

“It-s mainly between the state government and Hunter Venues,” Middleby said. “We pay a fee to Hunter Venues for the ground hire but it-s going to cost close to $1 million to resurface the whole pitch.

“Ultimately it comes down to funding, who-s going to find the money.

“It-s the same with the Knights. We want to lobby the government with Hunter Venues, because it-s such a beautiful stadium now with the new grandstand. There are plans to lobby the government but it-s ultimately Hunter Venues- responsibility.”

Middleby admitted the surface will become more of a priority, after Hunter Stadium was named as one of the host grounds for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup but said even this season, it hasn-t been as bad as it appears on TV.

“The situation now as well with the 2015 Asian Cup, and Newcastle being one of the major venues, this will become more important, with the standards expected by the AFC.

“It looks worse than it is. The pitch doesn-t look good from a viewer-s perspective but actually when you-re down on the ground it-s not that bad, the only concern is the hardness. In terms of the roll of the ball it-s not as bad as it looks but there are definitely different qualities of grass and the webbing underneath.

“It-s not ideal but it-s not as bad as some grounds. Given what he-s got to work with the curator here does a pretty good job. But it does definitely need relaying.”