Docker Jordan Clark has chimed in on the Optus Stadium surface debate, declaring he doesn’t see the playing surface being a ‘massive issue’ amid criticisms from the AFL world.

Many, including the Gold Coast and Fremantle, have called out the surface as not being up to AFL standards after a concerning number of players slipped over in Sunday’s match. 

Yesterday West Coast defender Tom Barrass – who shares Optus Stadium as his home ground,  became the latest critic – claiming it has ‘never been in reasonable nick.’

Speaking to SportFM, Clark says he does not share the same level of concern and called it ‘harsh’ on the curators.

“It’s obviously not in its perfect condition that it’s been in for a long time, but I’m not too picky. We don’t know all the ins and outs of why it’s in the condition it is,” he said. 

“The people criticising the oval at times probably wouldn’t know what the curators have to deal with or all the conditions and the stuff they’ve had to battle. 

“Until we get some more information, it’s probably a little bit harsh to hang someone out to dry and criticise them for their efforts. 

“I’d love it to be like a bowling green, but unfortunately it’s not. I think we just cop that and get on with it and play footy. From my perspective, I don’t see it being a massive issue.” 

In May, the AFL conducted a turf assessment, rating the surface as ‘good’ for presentation, surface coverage, levels and hardness, and stability. It also rated Optus Stadium as ‘very good’ for irrigation. 

Very good is the highest ranking a playing surface can achieve in the AFL’s turf assessment.

However, on Monday, Optus Stadium admitted the surface wasn’t performing at the level they desired and would work to improve the surface in the future. 

Fremantle Sydney play away at the SCG this weekend, while Optus Stadium hosts West Coast and Hawthorn on Sunday afternoon.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s clash, the Dockers will be without skipper Alex Pearce after scans confirmed a fractured forearm, leaving him sidelined for 3-4 weeks. 

Clark says while the loss of Pearce will be felt, he is confident the backline will adapt to the circumstances. 

“There’s no obvious replacement for what he brings to our team and our club. He’s the captain for a reason and he’s probably the best fullback in the comp at the moment,” he said.

“There’s a big-sized hole there, but I have no doubt that us as a backline, are going to fill that void and we’ll just find a way to get it done.

IMAGE: Fremantle Dockers