SPORTENG specialises in the planning, design and construction phases of Fields of Play across all sports in Australia.
Our experienced team all contribute towards designing high quality fields of play for all levels of use.


Like other natural turf Fields of Play, the design for an AFL oval combines engineering with agronomy and irrigation design. All three areas need to be equally represented and, most importantly, integrated to ensure the oval is properly designed.

  • Engineering ensures the subgrade is adequately understood and that the drainage is correctly designed to accommodate the infiltration rate of the overlying profile.
  • Agronomy allows us to correctly specify the growing medium, profile amendments and turf species.
  • Irrigation helps design a fully automated system to uniformly distribute precipitation across the turf surface.

Here at SPORTENG, our in-house design team covers these key elements. This ensures that the design of your AFL oval is completed to a high quality and meets the needs of key stakeholders and the AFL.

Our technical expertise underpins all our projects, and we are regularly called upon to work on projects of high significance.

No matter if you’re a governing body or a local school, you will benefit from a sports field that puts the athlete first.

We guarantee that SPORTENG’s designs will meet your needs, while complying with the AFL standards.

SPORTENG projects run on time and on budget due to our team’s comprehensive 3D design work, exceptional engineering expertise, agronomic and irrigation consultation, along with clear on-site direction.

Our Design Approach

SPORTENG lives and breathes Fields of Play. We take our love of the game from the grandstand right into our office. We’re proud to be Australia’s leading Field of Play design consultancy.


Our attention to detail is reflected in our mantra, ‘measure twice, cut once’.

We’re dedicated to achieving the best results for your venue and its athletes, whether it’s a local legend or the next international star.

Our design approach stays the same, no matter the oval or field we’re creating. Whether we’re designing an oval for an elite venue or a community grassroots facility, we undertake a detailed assessment of the existing site to:

  • Know the condition of the existing subgrade.
  • Locate drainage points of discharge.
  • Determine the water supply for the irrigation system.
  • Identify any site constraints.
  • Once we understand the site, we brief the client and work with them to ensure the oval can be delivered on time and on budget.

Sustainability Practices


Here at SPORTENG, we take a sustainable approach to all our designs. Not happy with just the status quo, we always strive to investigate new designs and construction techniques that deliver positive environmental outcomes.

We believe sustainability is intertwined with sports greatness.

As part of this, we integrate your requirements, from budget to performance values, through to sustainability practices – this ensures we achieve a successful result.

We consider the following key aspects and design outcomes in our sustainability approach for natural turf Fields of Play:

  • Ensuring the irrigation system is as efficient as possible to minimise precipitation requirements, noting that an oval is the most complex natural turf Field of Play to design due to the shape.
  • Specifying a playing surface profile that will support healthy turf growth with adequate natural moisture retention while not hindering performance.
  • Nominating a durable and drought tolerant turf species that addresses the end user’s performance requirements.

When designing a synthetic grass pitch, there are added environmental elements to be considered and addressed in the planning and design process:

  • End-of-life consideration allows us to specify cradle-to-cradle materials and products that have a circular upcycle process at the end of its design life rather than a linear ‘take-make-waste’ process.
  • Prioritising organic and infill free systems allow us to specify the use of organic infills or systems that have no performance infill layer.
  • The risk of microplastic displacement from the synthetic grass system means we ensure the pitch is fully enclosed to prevent infill displacement from the surface.

The SPORTENG team considers the use of recycled material and the whole-of-life cycle at every stage of design and construction. We make sure that a sustainable end-product starts at the beginning of design.

Synthetic Grass Microplastics Management

Optimize your synthetic grass Field of Play.


AFL Profile Options

There are several options that can you can consider when selecting the appropriate natural turf profile for an AFL oval.
Our decisional flow chart can help you marry your usage requirements with the appropriate playing surface profile.

The AFL, in conjunction with Cricket Australia (AFL/CA), endorses the use of synthetic grass as the playing surface for AFL ovals.





When you first join SPORTENG, one of the first questions we ask is, ‘Which AFL team do you support?’. While our team supports different AFL teams, we all agree that nailing the three key principles for the design of a natural turf AFL oval is paramount:

  • Playing surface profile meets the needs of the users so that the performance of the profile can cater for the proposed weekly hours of use.
  • Effective drainage allows for the quick removal of surface water through the profile and into subsurface drainage system, while retaining adequate moisture levels in the profile for the turf.
  • Efficient irrigation ensures high uniformity across the whole surface.

The ovular shape of an AFL field is the most challenging of all the fields of play for an irrigation design. The curved boundary makes fitting sprinkler spacing patterns difficult, as it’s typically rectangular or triangular.

However, our irrigation design team are well-versed with ovular irrigation systems and will produce an efficient design that addresses the key operational requirements .

The key design principles for a synthetic grass surface differ from that of natural turf, and include:

  • Appropriate and compliant synthetic grass system including underlying shockpads, must adhere to the AFL/CA standards and address the needs of the user and community. Variations in the secondary criteria are influenced by the different infill that are used.
  • Effective drainage quickly removes surface water through the profile and into a horizontal draining profile or vertical draining profile.
  • Long-term surface tolerance adherence is a key difference between these surfaces. The movement of natural turf can be addressed through topdressing, but the playing surface for synthetic grass cannot move over time. This is because level changes cannot be addressed through topdressing. The pavement and underlying subgrade must have a design life that shouldn’t move and is in excess of at least twenty years.

AFL Requirements



Achieving the appropriate geometry is more than just the length and width. Run-offs need to be meet, which means that all perimeter infrastructures need to be outside the run-off offset.

Incorporation of cricket wicket/s

The inclusion of a cricket wicket within an oval is almost unavoidable in Australia. It is rare to have an oval just for one sport without the other. The design for including synthetic cricket wickets vary from a natural turf wicket block. We have evolved our designs to provide the best outcome for both sports.

High wear areas

High wear areas, such as the centre square and goal squares, can be enhanced through the use of profile reinforcement or hybrid turf systems.

We lay the groundwork for greatness