Newcastle pitch ripped up

Works have begun on the surface at Hunter Stadium as part of the $1.25 million upgrade to have the pitch ready in time for January’s Asian Cup.

Following the completion of the NRL season over the weekend, the excavators have moved in immediately to rip-up the grounds decade-old surface.

The new turf is currently being grown on a farm in western Sydney, and will then be trucked in once the ground is prepared.

The venue’s pitch hasn’t had a major upgrade for over a decade, leading to heavy criticism over the surface quality over the last few Hyundai A-League seasons.

But this makeover should bring the ground back up in-line with the rest of the competition as well as be in top condition for the Asian Cup.

Crews have been given an eight-week window to complete the new surface, which is 11,000 square-metres.

‘‘We have one of the best equipped venues here in the country, and this is the piece that really needed to go along with it,’’ stadium general manager Bicci Henderson told the Newcastle Herald.

‘‘This is a professional sporting ground, it deserves a professional pitch.’’

Asian Cup

The Socceroos will be looking to win their first AFC Asian Cup when Asia’s biggest football tournament heads to Australia in January 2015.

32 matches over 23 days will be played in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle with the Socceroos kicking off the tournament against Kuwait in Melbourne on January 9.

Socceroos tickets start from $49 for adults and $24.50 for children.

All other group matches start from just $15 for adults and $5 for children.