Ground works are progressing on the playing field at the National Football Stadium as the deadline for the first trial match is scheduled for the third week of February.
“There’s a lot of work to be done before game day arrives, the grass has to be cut,” Groundsman Asi Oda says.
He continues, “Because we are hosting the Queensland Instrust Super Cup matches, we have to be in line with the games standards”.
Works on the grounds started late last year as the local off-season tournaments where using the facility to host events.
This includes the Southern Region Nines tournament among others.
While work on the playing field has completed, minor patching is continuing on the outside.
“If I would have started in December (on the field side), the bare areas would have grown back”.
It takes approximately two months for grass to grow to the required height for the off-field areas, time has run out.
“We wouldn’t be doing that (patching the side areas with grass fillings), because of delays beyond my control, I’ve decided to patch them up which is hard work but quicker,” Oda says.
According to Venue Manager, Lee Pokarop, the complete makeover is worth more than K50,000.
“The sand alone, hundred cubes (100 cubic feet) will cost an access of K50,000 and that’s budgeted for and then you’ve got the fertilizer that needs to be applied and there’s a cost for that, that’s captured”.
“And you take into account the grass that we have is very unique and is tempered grass which is brought in from Australia,” Pokarop adds.
The deadline for groundwork’s completion is February 17, 2020.
The first trial matches are on February 22, with NRL clubs Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs facing Cronulla Sharks as main game following the SP PNG Hunters – Central Queensland Capras curtain raiser.
Maintenance on the field and the entire infrastructure is ongoing.
The PNG government owned 15,000 sitter stadium was constructed by Oil Search under a private public partnership arrangement.
The former Lloyd Robson Oval is the spiritual home of rugby league in PNG.
An expected 11 Intrust Super Cup matches are expected to be played at the Oil Search National Football Stadium, another 15 from the local semi – professional league.
By Bradley Valenaki – EMTV Sports – Port Moresby