Experienced Maroons player Ben Hunt has expressed his opinion that playing on a ground such as the Adelaide Oval lacks the excitement of a rectangular field, as the team aims to improve their poor record in games played outside of Queensland and New South Wales. Although they beat the Blues in Adelaide in the first 2020 game, this was an outlier as NSW have triumphed in other venues such as Perth and the MCG in Melbourne. Reports suggest that ticket sales have been slower than anticipated, and the stadium’s dimensions mean that fans are further away from the field.
Hunt’s booming right boot out of dummy-half was a crucial advantage for the Queensland team, and wider dimensions can also pose challenges for kickers. The question of sideline accuracy can be exaggerated, but former player Cooper Cronk has warned players to ensure their kicks are slightly shorter due to the ball possibly bouncing further on the harder surface.
Blues legend Andrew Johns has commonly referenced the challenges involved in adapting to grounds like the Adelaide Oval or Optus Stadium in Perth. Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary, who, having played four ovals outside of NSW/QLD, is no stranger to adjusting his strategy and familiarising himself with the grounds. While his kicking stats have been solid, he’s never kicked a 40/20 at the cricket grounds.
Cleary has not expressed too much concern about the differences in playing on an oval or rectangular field and can use the rectangular signage to adjust to situating himself. Ultimately, he will need to determine his bearings and adjust with the angles on the non-traditional fields.