Former Brisbane forward Jonathan Brown has slammed Etihad Stadium after Lions youngster Michael Close suffered a horror injury during his side’s 82-point loss to North Melbourne on Sunday.
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Close will miss the rest of the AFL season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee after landing awkwardly over the boundary of the ground where the artificial turf meets the grass.
Brown told Fox Footy that the stadium’s playing surface was a workplace health and safety concern for players.
“Don’t worry, the AFL will be hearing more about this. This kid’s now out for 12 months, cost him a year,” Brown is quoted as saying by AAP.
“How bad’s that. The AstroTurf going all the way to the boundary line. There’s a bit of a lip there, now that’s a workplace health and safety for mine.
“There’s enough hurdles out there and enough obstructions … to be worried about how the footing is on the ground.”
Former Adelaide Crows ruckman Shaun Rehn successfully sued the AFL after he suffered a career-ending injury.
Brisbane Lions chief executive Greg Swann is convinced the injury was down to the uneven surface at Etihad Stadium and said the club had already spoken to the AFL.
“The kid is all right he will do the year and come back, but say he didn’t get back then you’d have an issue,” Swann told The Courier-Mail.
“From the game’s point of view they need to look at it you don’t want it happening again.
“We spoke to the AFL, just to put it on the record, we’ve had a close look at it and it happened after he clipped the edge of the astroturf.”
Close’s injury leaves the Lions without a key forward and Lions general football manager Dean Warren says everyone at the club feels for the youngster.
“It’s incredibly disappointing for Closey and everyone at the Footy Club really feels for him,” Warren said in a club statement.
“As with any major injury, our focus is on making sure he gets the best care possible and getting him on the road to recovery as soon as possible.
“Closey has a meticulous approach to his training and preparation and that will hold him in good stead on the road back to full fitness.”
Close has kicked 10 goals in 15 matches for the Lions and last year signed a three-year deal to keep him at the club until 2017.