Gabba's rock hard cricket pitch giving headaches to AFL rugby hunks!

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Melbourne, July 21 : Brisbane Lions coach Leigh Matthews has hinted that the Australian Football League knew the rock hard surface was unfit to play on and wanted the permanent cricket pitch replaced by a drop-in wicket, a move repeatedly ruled out by Gabba authorities

Mathews was angry after it emerged that Lions midfielder Scott Harding was considering suing for damages over the Gabba surface.

Harding suffered a knee injury and missed four matches after being slammed into the centre square in an AFL clash in June.

Asked if he thought the surface met AFL guidelines, Matthews said: "Therein lies the problem - what if it didn't? If the AFL said 'this doesn't meet our guidelines', what would happen? Where do you play the game?"

"Now we've got a problem, haven't we. You'd want it to meet the guidelines. You've got a firm surface or a ground that you can't play on. That's a bigger problem, isn't it? You've got problems, or you've got real problems," he added.

The Lions and the AFL have had a long running battle with the Gabba's management Stadiums Queensland - which answers to the state government - over the surface.

The AFL wants the permanent cricket pitch replaced by a drop-in wicket, a move repeatedly ruled out by Gabba authorities.

Harding isn't the first player to blame the pitch for causing injuries, The Gae reported.

Earlier this month, Brownlow medallist Simon Black said the pitch could even cut short his career.

Matthews has been an outspoken critic since his first season in Brisbane in 1999.

ANI

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