Dragons' ground for Concern

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA have expressed concerns about plans to dump more than 4000 tonnes of soil on WIN Stadium and turn it into a motorcycle track one month before their opening game of the season at the ground against Newcastle.

Dragons chief executive Peter Doust said he had reservations about the SEL 2004 Supercross Nationals being staged at the Wollongong ground on March 6 but he understood that regional venues needed to explore alternative revenue sources. Doust added that he had been assured by stadium management it would be up to NRL standards for the match against the Knights on April 4. "It's a very significant issue," Doust said last night. "They (stadium management) say they have a contract with the promoter to ensure the field will be reinstated to the quality we desire. "They have bank guarantees in place and financial resources to ensure that the whole field could be resurfaced if that was required." The Australian understands the Dragons players are unhappy about the event being held at WIN. The stadium general manager Stuart Barnes said yesterday they would not be hosting the supercross event if they thought it would jeorpadise the ground for the 2004 season. "The grounds nowadays have to be multi functional as every stadium is around the country," Barnes said. "Obviously (promoters) SEL are taking full responsibility for turning the ground back to footy and we did ask the Dragons to stay away from us for a month, which is possible with the split up between Kogarah and ourselves." Barnes said he could understand the Dragons' concerns but he did not think the club would hold it against stadium management when their lease expired at the end of 2005. NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley said he was unaware of the situation but he did not envisage any long-term problems before the Knights play there in April. "It might be more of a concern if it was going to happen a week before but if it's a month before I wouldn't expect there would be any problems for a NRL game," Annesley said.