Elton John concert damages turf at Bankwest Stadium before Parramatta Eels and Canterbury Bulldogs opener

NRL head of football Graham Annesley contacted Bankwest Stadium after the Herald alerted him to the concerning image, and was quickly assured there would be no issues with player safety.

The last thing the NRL needs is an injury to one of the game’s biggest stars because of a shifty playing surface.

Bankwest Stadium after the Elton John concert on Friday night.Credit:Twitter: @leaguewhistle

The area of most concern was behind the southern in-goal area.

“I’ve spoken to the stadium and they knew they would have to do this repair work immediately after the Elton John concert, but it was also absolutely standard fare for them,” Annesley said.

“There’s about 720sq m of turf that will be put down in the corners. They will lay some ready-to-play turf, which is about 60mm thick and has been growing for about a year.

“Once the grass is in it won’t move at all. The Eels will train there on Wednesday. Bankwest are not expecting any issues. And I’ll send out one of my guys tomorrow to inspect it once the grass has been laid.”

Glam shocker: Elton John.

Glam shocker: Elton John.Credit:AAP

Twelve months ago, Annesley had to inspect the SCG surface on the eve of the round-one clash between the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney. On that occasion, about 3000sq m of turf had to be replaced after giant clods of turf were noticeable the previous weekend during a Super Rugby game.

“And that night, the surface was perfectly playable,” Annesley said.

Bankwest head curator Graeme Logan insisted it wasn’t ‘gonna be a long, long time’ for the new turf to settle.

Sir Elton’s crew started dismantling the stage and removing equipment straight after the Farewell Yellow Brick Road concert finished late Saturday. They were finished by Monday morning.

The legendary singer was much quicker with his own exit, arriving and departing via helicopter, which was parked at the back of the $360 million venue where players warm up before NRL games.

Logan said the stadium’s concert floor protection system had kept 95 per cent of the arena’s turf in great shape. He added an area of turf where the concert stage was built at the far southern end of the ground had been replaced by turf prepared in advance at the stadium’s turf farm in western Sydney.

“This is routine business when we turn around diverse events in a short period of time. We will be in good shape and ready to go for Thursday,” Logan said.


There is a huge amount of hype on Parramatta this season with plenty of experts tipping them to end a 34-year premiership drought.

Players have praised the Bankwest Stadium surface but also noted how it becomes dewy at night.

Canterbury head into the local derby without Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor who were stood down because of alleged breaches of the game’s code of conduct.

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