In a first for Sutherland Shire, Harrie Dening Football Centre at Kareela is trialling a new hybrid turf that will provide a consistent playing surface all year round.
The hybrid surface consists of synthetic grass that is stitched into natural turf and has proven to increase stability and deliver considerably more playing hours than traditional grass fields. This is especially important for high-traffic areas like goal mouths and cricket pitches.
Sutherland Shire Council is collaborating with Sutherland Shire Football Association to trial the hybrid grass system on one of the lower field goal areas.
Hybrid grass playing fields not only stay healthier for longer, they also hold less heat than full synthetic pitches. This means greater availability to the community, especially during the hot summer months. As an added bonus, maintenance costs of the hybrid fields are also significantly lower than full synthetic facilities.
Sutherland Shire Council Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce said this new hybrid grass system would mean that more games could be played on the field, increasing the field use capacity without as much damage to the grass.
“Sport is such a strong part of our local identity and with increasing demand placed on our playing fields, Council is committed to supporting the continued use of our parks and reserves to meet the needs of our growing population,” Mayor Pesce said.
“We have already been working hard to help our playing fields stand up to the pressure by planting stronger types of grass, utilising better maintenance practices and installing irrigation systems and this new hybrid system should be incredibly beneficial.
“By bringing together synthetic and natural turf, sporting fields will be able to withstand considerably more playing hours each year and recovery time for the grass will be much faster,” Mayor Pesce added.
Sutherland Shire Football Association (SSFA) General Manager, Jeff Stewart said that the SSFA was extremely happy to work collaboratively with Council to trial this initiative.
“As the largest grassroots sporting association, with the highest per capita usage rate per field of any sport in the nation we know all too well how much time and effort is required to maintain the fields at an acceptable standard,” Mr Stewart said.
“We are thankful that Council has looked at viable alternatives to help manage and maintain the existing available green space and Harrie Dening Centre is an ideal location for this product to be trialled.”
Stephen Mallyon, General Manager of G5 Sports Turf, who installed the hybrid turf system, said it has been used across Europe on FIFA and World Rugby approved pitches and he was excited to bring the technology to the Sutherland Shire.
“We have installed SISGrass hybrid cricket pitches on wickets in Brisbane at the Bupa National Cricket Centre for Cricket Australia and QLD Cricket and Adelaide again for Cricket Australia and the South Australian Cricket Association, and also on playing fields at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney University with great success,” Mr Mallyon said.
“SIS Grass has recently been endorsed by ICC, Cricket Australia and the International Hockey Federation and we congratulate Sutherland Shire Council for being the first Council in Australia to trial the system.”
Sutherland Shire Council will monitor the hours of usage and wear on the field with the vision of using hybrid grass systems on other playing fields in the future.