St George Illawarra Dragons forced to move NRL trial against Newcastle Knights due to concerns about Jubilee Stadium pitch

Kogarah's Jubilee Stadium. Picture: Chris Lane
Kogarah's Jubilee Stadium. Picture: Chris Lane

St George Illawarra have been forced to relocate their first NRL trial match of the season from Kogarah to Wollongong on Saturday due to the state of the playing surface at Jubilee Stadium - with uncertainty also surrounding their opening NRL fixture.

The Dragons announced late on Thursday afternoon they had moved their trial against Newcastle from Kogarah to WIN Stadium, Wollongong because of the sub-standard pitch.

Dragons and NRL representatives inspected the ground on Thursday and informed Georges River Council, who manage Jubilee Stadium, the surface posed an unacceptable risk in terms of player safety. 

Dragons chief executive Brian Johnston said it was an "extremely disappointing and inconvenient" situation and indicated St George Illawarra's opening home game against South Sydney was also in doubt.

"As a club, we believe the condition of the playing surface is not up to the necessary or required standard and we are not prepared to risk injury to our players or the Newcastle Knights by playing at Netstrata Jubilee Oval in its present state," he said.

"I apologise to our members and supporters for any inconvenience caused but player safety needs to be of the highest priority.

"We have already requested further discussions with council representatives with respect to our opening home game against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in round two."

Jubilee Stadium is set to host the opening double header of the inaugural Cup of Nations featuring the Matildas, New Zealand, Argentina and Korea Republic on Thursday night in what is a key warm-up tournament for the women's football World Cup later this year.

Kogarah's pitch has had a larger volume of traffic than usual this summer with Sydney FC hosting seven A-League games at the venue.

There has also been a handful of W-League matches including the grand final between Sydney FC and Perth on Saturday.

St George Illawarra are expected to host five regular season matches at Kogarah this season including marquee fixtures against traditional rivals Rabbitohs, local rivals Canterbury and reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters.

Manly and Cronulla also shifted their trial on Saturday night to Shark Park due to concerns over the Brookvale Oval playing surface.

As well as the NRL trial, St George Illawarra have also relocated their fan day to Wollongong on Saturday.

The NRL trial will now kick-off at 4pm.

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