MCG goal square on the way to the Gabba for Grand Final
With the AFL Grand Final will be played outside of Melbourne for the first time this year, a piece of the MCG will feature at the Brisbane venue.
A group of specialists, from curators to transports experts and horticulturalists to grounds staff at the MCG and Gabba are working to oversee the delicate process.
Strips of the turf from the city end goal square, measuring 3m x 1m (the AFL goal square is 9m x 6.4m), were removed on Wednesday morning and sent on the 22-hour drive to Brisbane, where it will be laid out ahead of the 2020 AFL Grand Final in just over a week.
The MCG has remained event-free since round 1, with Melbourne still in lock-down, while the majority of AFL matches were relocated to Queensland. The Gabba was announced as the venue of the Grand Final in early September.
While it could be seen as a publicity stunt for the AFL’s goal square signage partner, the project has been months in the planning by staff at the two stadiums.
Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC), ground manager of the MCG, Executive Manager of Turf Michael Salvatore said transporting the turf to The Gabba has a romantic notion that Victorians will appreciate.
“I think it’s a great idea, and I think there’s a bit of romance to it was well – to think that the MCG will be there on the big day,” Salvatore said.
“I hope that it might cross the players’ minds at one stage and give them a little boost.”
A piece of the 'G at the Grand Final.— Melbourne Cricket Ground (@MCG) October 14, 2020
Today a section of the hallowed turf began the journey to Brisbane for the 2020 AFL Grand Final.
Read more: https://t.co/GlTluS5aJG@HGTurfGroup pic.twitter.com/mlJYlCpCz9
The removal and transportation of the turf is a complex task requiring a temperature-controlled truck to ensure the turf is in the best possible condition upon its arrival at The Gabba.
“As we’re moving plant material from one climate to another, we needed to ensure the turf extraction was done in a delicate way not to damage or cause stress to the roots to ensure it survives its long journey to The Gabba,” Salvatore said.
“We called in our turf provider, HG Turf, to oversee the process with us and to ensure our turf arrives at The Gabba in tip-top shape."
The 2020 AFL Grand Final will be played on Saturday 24 October at the Gabba, starting at 6:30pm local time (7:30pm AEDT) – the first time the match has been played outside of Victoria and under lights.