1 Dec 2013

Football ground comes up short on safety for Rugby League World Cup

6:59 pm on 1 December 2013

Despite pleas from both teams, there was little padding on show in Old Trafford's tiny in-goal areas, and two players were almost seriously injured in Sunday's Rugby League World Cup final.

Before the match, Kangaroos playmaker Johnathan Thurston and Kiwis captain Simon Mannering both urged World Cup officials to ensure safety precautions were taken, due to the famous football ground's short in-goal areas and a steep drop-off close to the perimeter of the pitch.

But Australian wing Brett Morris and his New Zealand counterpart Manu Vatuvei were lucky to escape serious injury when they went through the in-goal area and down the slope, crashing into the advertising hoardings.

Vatuvei says he's fine while Morris badly bruised his hip.

Old Trafford has hosted the Super League final annually for the past 16 years and the size of the pitch meets the tournament regulations - but officials are coming under fire for their lack of action to ensure player safety.

The final was won 34-2 by the dominant Kangaroos.