Hybrid Pitch Brings New Life To Sporting Field

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.

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$500,000 dedicated to the improvement of safety across NSW

A list of successful applicants across Football New South Wales are now entitled to a grant courtesy of $500,000 to Local Sport Defibrillator Grant (LSDG).

The sole purpose of LSDG is to provide Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to sports clubs across the state in order to combat the growing correlation between sport participation and cardiac arrests incurred by participants.

These devices have the potential to save participants lives within these crucial emergency situations.

Situations in where time is of the essence, the use of a defibrillator can be the difference in saving someone’s life.

Although the situation of a cardiac arrest occurring to be highly unlikely, due to the increased frequency of the medical episode taking place primarily within sport.

The safety of a broader community requires an approach in which it can allow for an equalizer within these tremulous situations.

Impact on Football Across NSW

14 clubs across the state of NSW where listed upon the successful applications, entitling those clubs to receive 3 defibrillators each.

Southern District Soccer Football Association have had quite the substantial contribution targeted towards their region.

4 out of the possible 14 AEDs were provided to a region where football has experienced expansion in growth and participation.

Heartbeat of Football

Heartbeat of Football (HOF) have worked in conjunction with Football NSW, acting as their primary community heart partner since 2022.

Boasting the motto “No one should die playing the sport they love,” HOF are dedicated within the company’s objective of having zero related hearth deaths on a sporting ground.

The efforts of HOF are in unison with the LSDG.

Football NSW Manager Government Relations, Funding, and Infrastructure, Daniel Ristic, said via press release.

“The Local Sport Defibrillator Grant has been a fantastic grant initiate allowing football clubs across NSW to equip themselves with life saving devices that are making a difference at the community level.”

The LSDG grant will continue to provide the required needs necessary in which can ultimately be lifesaving to a new branch of football entities across NSW.

Federal Budget commits $97 million investment for sport programs

The 2024-25 Federal Budget, which was released on Tuesday night, includes more than $97 million over two years to the ASC to extend Sporting Schools, the Local Sporting Champions, and Local Para Champions programs, and participation funding to help more Australians get active.

This two-year extension runs until 30 June 2026 and helps kids of all different sports afford an opportunity to play at a local level if they come from and under privileged background.

Football Australia is a part of the Sporting Schools program, with each state offering participation Officers and local clubs that are ready to implement in-school and after-school programs for students of ages up to Year 8, plus all abilities programs.

Football Australia use this program to link local football clubs with schools to facilitate an ongoing relationship and provide further opportunity for students to continue their football journey outside of school, whether that be MiniRoos Kick Off, MiniRoos Club or Junior Football.

More than 24,000 young Australians will be supported with the Local Sporting Champions (LSC) and Local Para Champions (LSP) grants programs continuing for a further two years.

These are fantastic programs that have supported Australia’s best athletes including many Matildas like Courtney Nevin, Cortnee Vine, Alex Chidiac, Teagan Micah and Clare Hunt.

World Cup veteran’s Caitlin Foord and Ellie Carpenter also rose to success with assistance from the LSC program throughout their junior careers.

Australian Sports Commission CEO Kieren Perkins OAM mentions the importance of this investment to continue critical national sporting programs.

“Once again, I want to thank Minister Wells and the Australian Government for their continued support and investment in Australian sport,” Perkins said in a statement.

“This funding extends critical sport participation programs like the Participation Grant program and Sporting Schools which provides free and fun sporting opportunities to more than two million students each year.

“This follows last week’s announcement of $249.7 million to upgrade the AIS Campus to ensure our athletes have access to the world’s best testing and training facilities, and accommodation ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

This is a fantastic initiative that will benefit football amongst other sports and has a history of helping kids of all skill levels play in their respective sport.

The Federal Budget have put in almost $350 to improve sport, mostly around the 2032 Olympic Games but it is great to see some investment in the world game after the huge success of the Women’s World Cup last year.

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