Roosters Ask For Suncorp Pitch To
Be Tested

THE Sydney Roosters have called for an expert report to determine the safety of the Suncorp Stadium playing surface as the injury toll continues to mount.

Roosters management will also meet NRL chief operating officer Grahan Annesley and his staff today to discuss the issue.

Six players, including four Roosters, have suffered knee ligament damage since the stadium underwent a $280 million refurbishment before reopening last month.

The sandy base supporting the new turf has prompted some players to compare the surface to a beach.

Roosters prop Peter Cusack, centre Justin Hodges and secondrower Craig Fitzgibbon are out for the season and halfback Brett Finch will be missing for a month.

Cowboys centre Paul Bowman and Newcastle fullback Robbie O'Davis are the other casualties.

O'Davis strained knee ligaments in the opening game at the new venue playing for Newcastle against the Broncos. His injury cost him a start in Origin I on June 16.

Bowman and Hodges were injured in that Origin game while Fitzgibbon, Cusack and Finch were all damaged playing against the Broncos last week.

After losing four players, the Roosters are concerned about the suitability of the playing surface with Origin III to be staged there on July 16.

Injuries to Hodges and Bowman prompted litigation lawyers to call for legal action against the stadium but the players declined to take that course of action.

Roosters chief executive Bernie Gurr said last night the report would be furnished by club doctor John Orchard.

"I asked John Orchard to look into the issue and watch video of each incident," Gurr said.

"This is not a vindictive type of thing it's more an exploratory exercise to determine exactly what's caused these injuries."

Gurr said Orchard was an expert in the field of playing surfaces as they relate to injury.

Coach Ricky Stuart said he was concerned about the spate of injuries to his players at Suncorp.

"But I'll reserve my comments until after the report is tabled," Stuart said.

Annesley said injuries were an unfortunate by-product of the game.

"We won't be jumping to any conclusions over this issue but we'll always talk to clubs about their concerns," Annesley said.