The AFL and ANZ Stadium management are investigating a incident at the venue which left Hawthorn forward Jarryd Roughead with a torn jersey and scratches and prompted Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson to suggest the Swans might be better off playing all their home games at the SCG.
Roughead came into contact with protruding bolts in the cement close to the perimeter fence of the arena during the third quarter of Saturday’s game.
The incident was caused by a push from Sydney Swans defender Dane Rampe after Roughhead kicked the third of his five goals.
Roughead, who was playing his first match back following a cancer scare, appeared to suffer some minor damage and matting was subsequently placed over the four bolts.
“This is a hiccup, we’re fortunate nothing serious happened for the big `Rough’, Clarkson said after the Hawks’ 89-point win.
“He’s been through some bigger challenges over the last couple of weeks, so he’s not worried about it too much.”
ANZ Stadium management issued a statement about the incident following the game.
“Stadium officials are working with the AFL to investigate this matter,” the statement said.
“Any risk to player safety is clearly unacceptable and is taken very seriously by Stadium management.”
It explained the bolts are used to secure an emergency fire extinguisher at the southern end of the arena and sit behind the fenceline for all events other than for AFL games.
“When the fenceline was moved back to accommodate the required five-metre zone behind the goals for this game, the holding bolts were exposed,” the statement said.
The Swans contract to play at the venue expires next year, though there have been suggestions they may not play there in 2016.
“We don’t mind playing at this venue, it’s a good enough venue,” Clarkson said.
“The challenge is combining the two codes and if rugby league want to have this ground and we play all our games at the SCG, then that might be the best option for our code.”
The incident was the latest in a chequered history of the code at the venue, though most of the previous issues have concerned the quality of the playing surface.
Most of those problems have occurred the day after a rugby league game at the venue and that was the case again in the latest instance, with the ground undergoing a reconfiguration after Friday night’s NRL match between Parramatta and the Canterbury Bulldogs.
“It’s not ideal,” Clarkson said.
“The AFL do an outstanding job in terms of making sure the ground is as good as it can possibly be, but this venue has got its challenges.
“Playing rugby league the night before and you’ve got to replace grass, pull back stands, do all that sort of thing, it’s hardly an ideal preparation for a top level clash between two really, really good sides.
“That will always be a significant challenge at this venue.
“It’s the only venue in the league that has to prepare for two different codes in two days and just makes it really really difficult.
“I suppose that’s why everyone’s preference is the SCG rather than this oval when it comes to playing in Sydney.”