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Tahs rule out pitch switch for A-League

NZN 2/05/2017 Emma Kemp and Darren Walton

The NSW Waratahs have ruled out moving their Saturday Super Rugby match to preserve Allianz Stadium's poor pitch for Sunday's A-League grand final.

The Waratahs considered a NSW government request to shift their clash with the Blues to North Sydney Oval to avoid further damaging the surface less than a day before the A-League's showpiece between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory.

But on Tuesday afternoon the club confirmed they've decided to keep the match at Allianz in the interests of their fans, supporters and other stakeholders.

Given the logistical ramifications, it would have been a long shot to pull it off on such late notice and it's understood the club is privately bemused at having been asked five days out.

Football Federation Australia and the SCG Trust met on Tuesday morning to talk over the options amid growing concerns over the uneven, muddy surface.

"We appreciate the efforts of Venues NSW, the minister and the Waratahs to explore the option of moving Saturday night's rugby match," Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop said.

"These things are always more complicated than perhaps first envisaged.

"The fact is our grand final deserves a world-class surface and the traffic on Allianz Stadium makes this a challenge.

"The standard of the pitch last Saturday night had a noticeably detrimental effect on the play, and we implore the Trust to work hard on minimising the impact of the rugby match to ensure the A-League grand final is played on a surface that befits the occasion and the stature of the grand final as one of Australia's showpiece sporting events."

The standard of Allianz's deck has undergone an alarming drop-off in recent weeks amid heavy cross-code traffic from rugby and the NRL.

Last Saturday's semi-final between the Sky Blues and Perth was played in a veritable quagmire, in stark difference to AAMI Park, which hosted Sunday's other semi between Victory and Brisbane.

A-League chief Greg O'Rourke admitted Allianz is currently the worst of all the regular surfaces in the competition.

"Excluding some alternate venues played in by some of the clubs that were forced to move because the ground was taken up by concerts or other codes, it's clearly the worst pitch at the moment," O'Rourke said.

"Suncorp or Etihad would have been better pitch alternatives but that's not the way our game plays out."

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