Mad Monday: The battle of Brookvale's surface

Goat track. Potato field. Cow paddock. And they're the nice things you hear about Brookvale Oval. Sorry, can't repeat the others. Not in print anyway.

Yet that's where the Canberra Raiders find themselves travelling next weekend, despite the oval coming under fire for its dodgy playing surface this season.

Roosters' Brett Morris is one of a number of knee injuries suffered at Brookvale Oval. Photo: NRL Imagery

Roosters' Brett Morris is one of a number of knee injuries suffered at Brookvale Oval. Photo: NRL Imagery

I've covered two Green Machine games at "Brookie". Quite a quaint little venue. Nothing fancy, could do with a facelift, but gets the job done.

It will be getting one. A facelift that is. Part of a $36 million redevelopment to build a centre of excellence there.

Hopefully they do a bit of work on the ground too.

From a Raiders' perspective both of those games have been ones to forget. Firstly a golden-point thriller where Daly Cherry-Evans capped off a Sea Eagles comeback.

Then an effort Canberra coach Ricky Stuart labelled soft after they blown off the park in the first half.

But they were also games to forget for a handful of players. Two games. Three ACLs. Dunamis Lui, Jorge Taufua, Curtis Sironen. And that's just the knee reconstructions.

Shannon Boyd did his medial ligament. Tom Trbojevic had an ankle injury. And Kelepi Tanginoa was initially diagnosed with an ACL only to find out it was only a medial.

You'd be cursing your luck with that kind of injury tally from a month of football, let alone two games.

Talk about a Battle of Brookvale.

You'd think something might've been done about it. But the playing surface has been in the firing line this season.

Sydney Roosters winger Brett Morris was fuming after he hurt his medial there in round two. Reckoned there'd be hell to pay if it had been a star of the game. Kalyn Ponga or the like.

It seems Morris's record there's just as bad as mine - two visits, two knee injuries.

The NRL's Injury Surveillance Report said 10 per cent of all games missed last season were due to injuries at Brookvale.

And there were only 10 games there. From the 201 that were played in the NRL.

The NRL brought in an independent assessor following the Roosters-Manly game and it was given the all clear.

Thumbs up. The big tick. Despite a pre-season trial getting moved from the venue due to the state of the playing surface.

So back across the Spit Bridge we go. Fingers crossed.

Parra does matter

It's a totally different story at the brand-spanking-new Parramatta Stadium.

Which the Eels will be unwrapping on Monday, like they're a kid under the Christmas tree at 5am. Too excited to sleep any longer and just hoping their parents don't hear them.

Parramatta Stadium.

Parramatta Stadium.

For $360 million there's 30,000 new seats for fans to watch the action from.

The stands are super steep to bring everyone closer to the action and it's got all the bells and whistles - like corporate boxes being able to choose which sections of the crowd they want to hear through their speakers.

It means you can't help thinking about what's the future for venues in Canberra.

We're currently stuck in a holding pattern. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. For the federal government to make up their minds.

What will they do with the AIS? Canberra Stadium? AIS Arena? The swimming pools?

Each tick tock of the clock brings us closer to the federal election. Closer to knowing what the government will do.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr wants to buy them. Make them ours. The will come the big decisions.

Try to fix the aging Canberra Stadium up and make it more user friendly. Or bite the bullet and pull the trigger on a new Civic Stadium.

That's what we want. Reinvigorate the ACT Brumbies and the Raiders. Reinvigorate the city as well.

The main problem for the ACT government has been finding the funding. It was looking rosey, until Mr Fluffy came along and stuffed everything up for us.

ACT Sports Minister Yvette Berry told Mad Monday the election result wouldn't matter, they'd be able to work with the federal government regardless.

Now we play the waiting game.

But should we be? Maybe we should be hearing more from the federal government than just crickets.

If reports from up north earlier this year were to believed, the North Queensland Cowboys were going to become extinct without $30 million in funding to build a centre of excellence.

Gone. Just like that. Just like the dinosaurs.

But then "Shazam"! Like a superhero out of the blue, our caped Prime Minister Scott Morrison stumped up with $15 million.

That's on top of the $100 million for the Cowboys' new stadium.

Now let's not seem ungrateful. The ACT and NSW governments have chipped in to build the Raiders a new centre of excellence.

But the federal bosses are strangely quiet.

Could that be because the seat of Herbert, which encompasses Townsville, is widely regarded as one of the most marginal in the country. A key seat in the upcoming election. Could help decide who wins and loses.

Who woulda thought votes bought the keys to the government's coffers.

Surely not. Surely it was simply because of the dire straits the Cowboys found themselves in.

Maybe it's time for the Brumbies and Raiders to start beating the same drum.

It's a big week for...

Apart from Brookvale?And ScoMo?

Whoever said history never repeats obviously didn't know about Brumbies flanker David Pocock's calf injury. Hopefully he'll be back this week for the Brumbies on the Argentina leg of their tour.

With an ACL injury for veteran hooker Josh Mann-Rea, Connal McInerney will have an exciting week having jumped on a plane for South America.

It's almost becoming second nature for McInerney, these mad dashes to the other side of the world, having done the same thing last year as well. The young hooker will slot onto the Brumbies bench behind starting rake Folau Fainga'a. Happy travels.