The hybrid turf facility at QBE Stadium will once again be utilised during the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership.
The turf is the latest addition to QBE Stadium and features an artificial turf layer which allows grass to grow through from underneath. The type of turf is normally used in European sports stadiums, and is used in Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium where Super Rugby’s Highlanders play. This method is utilised to help keep a consistent playing surface and provide the opportunity to promote increased usage annually.
With female participation on the increase, this will be a key venue for AFL New Zealand moving forward as the game continues to grow. In alignment with the recent commencement of AFLW in Australia, there are expectations that key fixtures to promote the female pathway within New Zealand will also appear at QBE Stadium.
In March 2017, AFL became the first sport to utilise the Hybrid Turf. The AFL New Zealand Premiership christened the oval during Round 5 of the competition. The feedback from participants and officials ticked off the venue as a phenomenal surface that would inspire further usage and assist in growing the game.
The oval was increased in size to incorporate AFL specifically and has been touted as a potential venue for an AFL pre-season fixture in the future.
QBE Stadium falls under the umbrella of Auckland Stadiums who, as part of their portfolio, oversee the current redevelopment of Western Springs Stadium as it too, works towards the hosting of regular AFL fixtures within New Zealand’s largest city.
The main stadium will eventually become a feature of the hybrid turf facility with its ability to utilise viewing opportunities to both the smaller Rugby/Soccer field and hybrid turf utilised by AFL.