Senior AFL players have expressed a level of concern in the MCG's playing surface, which has gained high-level attention in recent weeks after the venue hosted a pair of Ed Sheeran concerts that exceeded 200,000 fans across two nights.
The decision to stage the pair of gigs at the MCG a fortnight prior to the AFL's season opening, which was held at the MCG before a second match at the same venue the following night, led to resurfacing of the ground's turf on the eve of home and away campaign.
Scott's new captain Patrick Dangerfield stated the surface didn't feel like "a normal deck", with the surface 'inconsistent'.
"I thought it was pretty good considering there were 107,00 people on it a couple of weeks ago," Dangerfield told the 7 AFL broadcast on Saturday.
"Was it a normal deck? No, it wasn't. It was never going to be, but there were areas of inconsistency and I suppose in a game where players are running 12 to 15 kilometres there's gonna be times where you run over those different patches.
"It wasn't shifty. What it was is that there are different layers of the knitting of the grass. There are certain patches where it's really well-knitted. And then it's matched with something that's more soil, and the soil does shift more than what the grass would."
🗣 "Was it like a normal deck, no it wasn't"
Geelong captain Patrick Dangerfield talks about his experience playing on the fresh MCG turf last night against the Pies pic.twitter.com/rWIDphvy3J
— 7AFL (@7AFL) March 18, 2023
Speaking to 3AW, Docherty said the turf was "slippery", with players carrying some concern into the clash with Richmond.
"Having been a person who's done a couple of ACLs, I was extremely nervous pre-game when I walked out there and saw the differences in the turf from the stuff that's been there for a while and the newly laid stuff," Docherty said.
"I was surprised there weren't any injuries in our game.
"It's a fairly significant difference between the two turfs. I think with the newly laid stuff it was quite hard but did move a bit when you moved over, the grass spat up a bit.
"When you got onto the old MCG turf, I think because they put so much water trying to get the new grass to sit in, that was really soft.
"It definitely presented some level of risk in my eyes, the MCG obviously took that punt, they would have known what they were doing by taking the Ed Sheeran concert."