Canberra Demons slam Sydney University's Henson Park as 'no way NEAFL quality'
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Canberra Demons slam Sydney University's Henson Park as 'no way NEAFL quality'

It made for a 100th NEAFL game Aaron Bruce would never forget, but the Canberra Demon says Sydney University's Henson Park is "disgraceful" and "no way NEAFL quality" after a sinkhole forced their game to be abandoned on Saturday.

But the NEAFL have defended the ground, as well as the rules that awarded Sydney Uni the win — despite only the first half being played.

Holey Toledo! Henson Park in Sydney opens up during the NEAFL game between Sydney Uni and the Canberra Demons.

Holey Toledo! Henson Park in Sydney opens up during the NEAFL game between Sydney Uni and the Canberra Demons.

It's believed a burst pipe created a hole below the surface, which was noticed at half-time, and subsequent investigation led to the ground being deemed unsafe with Uni awarded the four points for a 8.6 (54) to 1.9 (15) victory.

Bruce said there were other problems with the ground, which is also used by NSW Cup rugby league side Newtown Jets, including metal plates where the rugby league posts go into the turf.

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"If I didn't have reason enough to remember it already, I certainly will after yesterday. A very strange series of circumstances," Bruce said.

"To be honest AFL Sydney needs to have a good hard look at itself. It's a disgraceful venue, it's a really old venue and there's no way NEAFL quality games, or any games really, [should be played there]. It's not safe."

Bruce felt a draw would have been a fair result, given it was Sydney Uni's ground that was deemed unsafe, but AFL rule 10.6.2(c) states if a game is called off at half-time then the score stands.

The NEAFL will further investigate the matter, with Uni scheduled to play Redland at Henson Park next week.

NEAFL manager Patrick Carter said it was just a "freak" occurrence and backed Henson Park as a venue going forward.

"The ground's fine, we've played NEAFL there for a couple of years now and this is just a freak thing where ... we think a pipe's cracked and it's created this situation," he said.

"There's a game scheduled there for next week, so we'll have a look at that. I can't really comment on the ground yet until I get a report from the council on Monday.

"There's no reason for the ground not to be deemed NEAFL standard, it was just a freak occurrence."

David Polkinghorne covers the Canberra Raiders, local rugby league, Canberra Cavalry, racing and cycling, along with every other sport, for The Canberra Times.