AFL players asked about artificial turf

The AFL Players Association has contacted players at all clubs to ask their opinion about the artificial turf at Etihad Stadium following Daniel Menzel’s ankle injury.

The move came as the association’s head of player relations, Brett Murphy, called for the league to find a swift solution to the problem.

“Players have expressed concerns regarding the proximity of the synthetic turf to the playing surface, which makes it more difficult to slow down and/or change direction, potentially contributing to injuries such as that suffered by Daniel Menzel,” Murphy said in a statement.

“The players also feel that the synthetic turf is harder and more abrasive than natural turf, leading to more painful injuries when landing or sliding.”

Earlier on Thursday, AFLPA executive board member Jimmy Bartel indicated he had concerns the AFL would respond only after further injuries to players at the ground.

“I don’t think players should have to put up with it,” he told SEN Breakfast.

“We spoke about it last night and everyone formed the opinion that you shouldn’t just accept it as it is and just have injuries.

“It seems to be an issue whenever someone gets hurt. And we don’t want that to be the case of having to wait until someone gets hurt to solve problems.”

Menzel remains a chance to play for Geelong on Saturday after he injured his ankle while sliding across the artificial turf last weekend, which Bartel said felt like concrete.

“I think in today’s age we can find a better alternative that has a little bit more give in it than that style of astroturf,” he said.

“It is like concrete and people saw how Dan Menzel hurt his ankle – he just slid across the top of it, like when you’re running with footy boots on concrete.

“The NFL teams have indoor facilities with special astroturf.

“We’re not asking for a whole field, just a small amount to replace the pretty hard stuff around the edges of Etihad and other stadiums in Australia.”

Menzel isn’t the first player to be caught up in drama surrounding the fake grass.

Brisbane forward Michael Close is fighting for compensation from the AFL after he required a knee reconstruction last April after sliding outside the boundary.

Investigations by the players association and the league have resulted in differing conclusions on whether the surface played a part in the injury.

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