HERO Hybrid Grass: Transforming stadiums for elite football events

HERO Hybrid Grass

In the world of sports, where passion and precision collide, the playing field holds a special significance.

When it comes to hosting elite, high-profile football events, one challenge has always stood out; Maintaining the highest-quality natural grass throughout the entirety of the tournament. This challenge led Hamish Sutherland and his team at HG Turf Group on a remarkable journey of innovation, resulting in the creation of the revolutionary HERO Hybrid Grass.

HERO Hybrid Grass is the result of a ground-breaking partnership between HG Turf Group, Sport Group, Polytan (a member of Sport Group), and GST Global. This consortium of expertise seamlessly blends German synthetic fibre technology, South Korean manufacturing proficiency, and Australian natural grass know-how. The outcome? A technological marvel that is transforming the game of football from the ground up.

Sport Group Fibre: The key ingredient

Central to this innovation is the Sport Group fibre, a pinnacle of German engineering. With a legacy of excellence in developing synthetic grass fibre, Sport Group’s contribution to HERO Hybrid Grass is pivotal. This partnership not only enriches the product’s performance but also propels the industry forward by delving into eco-friendly solutions. Sport Group’s venture into petroleum-free and CO₂ neutral fibres showcases a commitment to sustainability, aligning seamlessly with the changing environmental consciousness.

The hybrid advantage

Hybrid grass, the harmonious marriage of natural grass (95%) and synthetic grass (5%), has revolutionised elite football tournaments. The addition of synthetic fibres augments stability, durability, and consistency to the playing surface. As a result, players experience enhanced ball bounce, ball roll, and secure footing, redefining the dynamics of the game. Notably, this technical edge does not compromise the authentic feel of natural grass—a testament to the meticulous engineering behind HERO Hybrid Grass.

Making the beautiful game even more beautiful

Hybrid grass technology has opened new doors for football enthusiasts. Stadiums have become arenas of unparalleled performance, where players and teams can truly shine. The consistent playing surface ensures breath-taking plays, showcasing the sport at its pinnacle. Moreover, this innovation transcends players and teams, captivating spectators with an unmatched football experience. With HERO Hybrid Grass, fans are treated to impeccable playability, translating into unforgettable moments on the field.

Strong environmental performance

In an era where sustainability takes centre stage, HERO Hybrid Grass stands as a testament to responsible innovation. The partnership between HG Turf Group, Sport Group, GST Global, and Polytan underscores their collective commitment to environmental stewardship. At the end of its useful life, HERO Hybrid Grass is 100% recyclable, contributing to a circular economy. This dedication to reducing the environmental footprint aligns with the partners’ shared values, leaving a lasting legacy both on and off the field.

Pitches made better: By science and nature

The synergy between cutting-edge engineering and the beauty of natural grass is embodied in HERO Hybrid Grass. This remarkable collaboration redefines the playing field and sets new standards for football pitch technology. With installations at prestigious stadiums hosting the Women’s World Cup at venues – such as Stadium Australia, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Perth Rectangular Stadium, Eden Park, and Wellington Regional Stadium – the impact of this partnership reverberates across the globe.

In an ever-evolving world where innovation is paramount, the HERO Hybrid Grass story is a testament to what can be achieved when expertise from around the world converges with a shared vision. As the football world looks forward to more elite events, it’s clear that the hero of the field isn’t just the player – it’s the ground they stand on.

Air-Eze providing cleaning solutions to remove mud from boots

Air-Eze are a British organisation in whom through the basic formula of air compression, have enabled for participants across different codes of sports to find longevity within their much beloved sports essentials.

Market leaders within the field of compressed air operated cleaning stations, Air-Eze have established over 1,300 sites within their 25 year tenure of operations.

Providing avid sports participants and construction workers with a self-serve cleaning service.

Through air-compression, pop-up devices are placed across a plethora of varying places, all designated in cleaning debris off of a person’s shoes.

Footballers are pedantic when it comes to their beloved football boots, no matter the skill level or demographic.

Participants place a hefty amount of time and consideration towards which pair of boots best symbolises their playing style.

Through the modernisation of football, boots are no longer just essentials. With the immense popularity surrounding features such as specific variations, colours and patterns.

Footballers associate boots as a visual representation of who they are as a person, almost an extension of their personality.

Pitches across the globe are prone to exhibit large masses of mud, especially throughout the wet seasons.

Therefore, players across all skill-levels of the sport are not immune to experiencing a large build-up of mud, upon their expensive football boots they recently purchased.

A part of the sport in which is appreciated by many, Football is for the brave-hearted, and it is associated with mud. Although synthetic surfaces have become a normality, the fabric that football was made upon still remains a common theme upon the sport.

The fabric of football consists of grit, determination and passion. With a playing surface not interfering with the competitive nature of its participants. Who throughout the course of history have tracked into the clubrooms, leaving a muddy trail behind them.

A 2-year warranty is issued upon the purchase of their self-proclaimed low maintenance machines.

The longevity of the system is maintained through frequent services, ensuring that the equipment is working at its optimal level.

Air-Eze unit

Upon optimal use of the Air-Eze Bootboy system, football clubs are able to exercise enhanced hygiene throughout fully-furbished indoor facilities.

The Air-Eze Bootboy system is effortless. Through the sheer power instilled within the system and alternating air-nozzles, players, club-staff and club officials are all able to clean their boots without any real difficulty.

Gone are the days of arriving home from a football related activity, whether it was training or match-day where participants would arrive home and smack their boots upon a hard-surface, in order to get rid of the mud all compounded within the boot studs.

Furthermore, the company is recognised its products low running costs and minimal maintenance. Although its design is robust, it somewhat operates better.

As a result, the machines are resistant to corrosion guaranteeing a durable, long-term, sustainable product effective within saving costs.

Renowned football clubs across the globe have been swift in utilising the services of Air-Eze.

European giants Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Celtic, Tottenham and Rangers are all upon an ever growing list of football clubs who have installed Air-Eze’s Bootboy system upon their clubrooms.

Featuring mostly within the player tunnels, the air-compression system does not require much space. It also acts as a nice feature upon the player ramp, allowing players to enter clubrooms still in their football attire, without the possibility of leaving a trail in their wake.

Air-Eze despite having built up quite the portfolio across the UK and various parts of Europe are still yet to feature down under.

It would be a nice touch for clubs across the local leagues to focus on the cleanliness of club rooms, by the prevention of players entering with muddy boots.

Simon Pincic talks upgrades at Somers Street and future of Melbourne Knights

Knights Stadium facility upgrades are almost complete with new irrigation and drainage systems, perimeter fencing, turf for pitches 2 and 3 and an inaugural small-sided pitch 4.

Knights Stadium is one of the most iconic grounds in Australian football and has a storied history dating back to 1989, highlighting the longevity of the Knights’ success in Victorian football.

In an interview with Soccerscene, Melbourne Knights President Simon Pincic discusses the progress at Somers Street from its start in January, the clubs view on improving the women’s teams and how the Knights continue to focus on youth development at all ages.

The upgrades were confirmed in early January are part of a big plan by the Knights to ‘provide a leading sporting facility in Melbourne’s West.’

After the announcement of the upgrades in January, how are the developments coming along at Somers Street?

Simon Pincic: We’re now most of the way there, getting through the final stages and we hope the bulk of this project is completed by the end of next week.

It started out with doing a bit of pitch work just to make our playing surfaces better and we kind of adapted and evolved from what was a six week project to now a four month project.

We ripped up the existing surfaces then added drainage and irrigation to both pitches, levelling off the pitches then finishing it off by installing the turf.

Pitch 3 is down by the end of next week. It’s the training ground and now we’re able to make that a full size, community ground for the u18’s NPL side.

We were also able to add in a small-sided pitch for our younger age groups, so the u8’s and 9’s can play there.

In addition to that there is new perimeter fencing around those pitches, added footpaths, and then the final touch is installing new lighting for Pitch 3 but that probably won’t be until next year when we are planning on upgrading the lighting on Pitch 2.

The early stages of pitch works back in January.

The upgrades and your previous statements at events suggest there is an emphasis on youth development for the Knights. Has that been a big discussion point for the Knights board members?

Simon Pincic: The club have always prided ourselves on giving our juniors a chance. Every season or every second season we tend to push one or two of our junior players to the senior squad. They don’t always make it at the senior level, but we give them a couple of years in that space.

Recently we had [Luka] Kolic pretty much play two entire seasons as an 18 and 19 year old and then went on to sign for Melbourne Victory. As proud as we are of that sort of stuff, we think we can do better with the younger age groups.

Really putting a lot more emphasis into that real grassroots level so from the youngest ages of three to six and starting teams from the u7’s where we really drive home skill development and that sort of stuff.

The goal is trying to develop these players so we can have a crop of ten or twenty that come in from the u7 level and majority of them are still there when they get to the u18 or u23 level so instead of just poaching talent from elsewhere, we can utilise the players from our own set up.

Newly appointed Senior Men’s Head Coach, Ivan Franjic. Photo by: Mikko Robles/MKFC

What is the focus on women’s football now with the increased participation across the country? Is that a priority for the Knights?

Simon Pincic: With the youth set up, it’s not just with the boys but with the girls as well. We haven’t had much luck with that recently when we lost our senior women’s side a couple of years ago and we’re working on improving some facilities for them as well.

Part of the project includes adding girls and women’s changerooms and putting a big emphasis next season on growing the number of junior teams that we’ve got.

With these upgrades, we can have elite level facilities for women in the west which doesn’t exist at the moment so hopefully within a few years we can build that up, have most age groups and build an elite pathway for the girls to follow.

The stadium seems to be a part of a long-term goal to be one of the biggest clubs in the country. Are there any future ambitions for the club and the stadium that the Knights are focusing on?

Simon Pincic: We’ve got a master plan that we started around the start of Covid and have been campaigning for quite a while.

The southern end of our stadium will be flattened, the terracing behind that southern goal, which faces pitches two and three, will be removed and the new club house will be built there with some new terracing and stadium seating behind there.

Also the removal of the old clubhouse and the installation of the new synthetic pitch which is all part of a grand plan.

We obviously need a small amount of funding to get that started and we will breakdown how we complete these tasks and work around any issues.

There will be refurbishments to the clubrooms, changing rooms and stadium terracing to ensure we can host the bigger matches like the Brisbane Roar one again in the upgraded stadium.

There is quite a grand plan there and this year we are taking that first step to completing that clubroom plan.

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