A request from Maitland Rugby League for the Pickers to play their last three home games on the new No1. Sportsground has been knocked back by Maitland City Council.
The Pickers have been playing home games at Coronation Oval, Telarah throughout the season while their home base underwent a major refurbishment.
With the recent unveiling of the new $8.6 million complex, the club thought players may be able to finish the season on a high note and play on new turf.
Unfortunately the request was denied at a Maitland City Council meeting on Tuesday night, a decision that has upset not only players but also president Frank Lawler.
Mr Lawler said the move to Coronation Oval has hurt the club financially resulting in a 30 per cent drop in game day takings.
“I reckon we’ve lost about $30,000 so far this year,” Mr Lawler said.
“It’s a bit of an honesty system at Coronation with someone manning the gate but it’s easy enough for people to access the ground from South Street cemetery or the area near the railway line,” he said.
“They drive their cars up to the fence line, bring their own beers and watch the game. How are we supposed to police that,” he said.
A report to this week’s council meeting by council’s Infrastructure and Works Manager Chris James said the playing surface at No.1 Sportsground required further preparation works.
Mr James said this was to ensure the maximum benefit is realised during the critical spring regrowth period. It is recommended that the ground is not used until next year.
“Although the playing surface appears complete it still requires a program of work to ensure its viability for the long term,” Mr James said.
“Council is in the process of finalising operational procedures for the facility and establishing the playing surface and grassed spectator areas,” he said.
The new turf at No.1 Sportsground has had limited time to establish as it was laid at the end of the growing season.
“The period between now and spring is needed to undertake surface preparation works to ensure the maximum benefit is realised during the critical spring regrowth period.
“The work put in at this time will have a significant impact on the quality of the surface for the 2018 winter season,” Mr James said.
The works include:
. Installation of sand drains which should only be undertaken with an established turf cover. The drains are programmed to be installed in August/September followed by two top dressings of the field.
. A program of weed control, slow release fertiliser, pesticide and root development improvements over the next six months.