By Emma Rothfield, Media and Communications Coordinator, VenuesLive NSW

In this edition of In Profile, we sit down with Assistant Curator and member of the Grounds Operations team at ANZ Stadium and Bankwest Stadium, Joel Toogood. We talk all things turf, events around the world, and how to keep your lawn at home in tip-top shape.

 

Name: Joel Toogood

Years at ANZ Stadium: 9

Role: Assistant Curator and Grounds Operations

Favourite Team: South Sydney Rabbitohs

Fun Fact: Joel is married to VenuesLive NSW Ticketing Manager and member of the Events & Venue Management team, Kirra Toogood (formally Hooke). The two met at the 2011 ANZ Stadium Christmas party and were married in Fiji last November!

So how did you get into grounds keeping?

My father was a greens keeper for 30 odd years, running Rosehill Racecourse. He was the Track Manager at the racecourse, so I grew up around it, grew up sitting on tractors and just fell in love with it.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Oh geez, there are lots… But I suppose the satisfaction of growing something and presenting it to people in a great state, especially when everyone is looking at it and focusing on it.

What’s the biggest challenge?

When the field is not looking the best. In the middle of winter when it’s looking tired and everyone is under pressure with big events.

What’s your favourite memory from your time at ANZ Stadium or Bankwest Stadium?

Probably Souths winning the NRL Grand Final. I’m a massive Bunnies fan. That was a great memory and a big day to be a part of. New South Wales winning State of Origin in 2014 was really big as well.

What’s the secret to keeping a luscious lawn at home?

Regular mowing, fertilising and watering. They are the main tips.

We heard you have worked on some major events around the world. Tell us about that? 

I was Training Venues Manager in Manchester for the 2012 London Olympics, and I also worked as a Pitch Consultant at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. I was there from three weeks before the tournament until the final game in Salvador. Every game was awesome. We had Portugal training in one of the Stadiums, and they wouldn’t let any fans in but all you could hear from the streets were thousands of people chanting Ronaldo’s name. Watching him play was just awesome.

What is something about your job that most people wouldn’t know?

The grass needs looking after 365 days of the year – including Christmas – so there is always someone from our team working every single day.

Do you have the best lawn in your street?

Haha no. I don’t. I have the best lawn in the country right here, I don’t need one at home.