Special Report by Matt Cleary
At 4:54 pm today, June 21, 2022, the sun set on Sydney’s shortest day of the year.
For many people it it means we’re on the run home to longer days, to Spring, to the finals of the football.
For Graeme Logan, Head Curator at Accor Stadium, it means more sun for the grass that he’s tended to for the last 24 years.
And while there will be ever more life-sustaining sunshine on his grass, he still has to keep it warm.
Indeed he’ll continue tucking it into bed.
“We put the covers down like a doona, trying to capture a little bit of heat on the surface,” Logan explains.
“It’s come into the year relatively strong given we’ve had the worst start to the year with so much rain.
“We’ve also had a lot of overcast days which are non-growing days.
“It’s been overcast for months.”
Logan will tell you grass needs sun, rain and aeration. Too much play in the wet leads to “compaction” which is not good for grass.
He feeds the soil nutrients every 2-3 weeks while the drainage system – a sandy base regularly aerated by various shaped tines – is world class.
Logan’s great ‘uncontrollable’ is the weather. Indeed he describes it as a footballer might talk of an opponent.
“The enemy is the weather,” Logan says. “It’s a twelve month a year challenge.”
“It can be too cold, too wet, too overcast.
“Hence the lights are saving us in certain areas.
“The trick is getting work done around all the games.”
Logan’s job doesn’t get easier as the days lengthen but it does get more “rewarding”, he says.
“Because you’re getting results.
“And for myself and the grounds staff here, we’re just like the players.
“Grand final final is coming. So you’re building up to the end.
“You’re getting stronger and you want to finish at your peak.
“You want to present it at its best,” Logan says.
That the ground still looks good and the surface has held up with all the rain and the wear and tear of a Barcelona friendly, a State of Origin match and regular NRL and NSW Cup games is tribute to Logan and staff.
“We’ve had a metre of rain which is a phenomenal amount.
“The last two and a half weeks is the most sun we’ve had all year.
“So it took a while to get on the front foot but we’ve turned the corner now,” Logan says.
Bring it on, September Equinox.