The venue of the upcoming Bendigo Pioneers and Geelong Falcons match is under a cloud of doubt.
The Weekly revealed last week that the surface at Epsom-Huntly Recreation Reserve, the Pioneers’ home ground, had been deemed unfit by an AFL Victoria representative before the Pioneers’ June 17 TAC Cup match with the Dandenong Southern Stingrays.
The match slated to be played at Epsom on July 2 against the Falcons is in the process of being relocated, according to Pioneers official Leigh Byrne.
City of Greater Bendigo Presentation and Assets director Darren Fuzzard said the ground had only marginally improved since the game against the Stingrays was relocated to the Queen Elizabeth Oval.
“We’ve been doing some over sowing with rye grass, but with the colder conditions recently we haven’t seen a lot of growth in that,” he said.
“The conditions have marginally improved, but not enough for the Pioneers to change their views on the ground’s conditions.”
AFL Victoria region manager for Geelong Michael Turner admitted some concerns had been raised about the turf by teams that had played there, and that the Falcons would leave the decision on the ground to the Pioneers.
“The Pioneers have been really good, obviously it’s a fantastic new facility and sometimes new grounds just need a while to settle, and if it hasn’t settled then we will relocate possibly to the QEO which is also a great facility also,” he said.
“The concern for us is that obviously there’s kids in our competition that are in contention to be drafted so there’s that risk management element to it.”Mr Fuzzard said the QEO was not the only ground being considered for the game to be played at.