Melbourne needs a third footy stadium

johnhunt92 Roar Rookie

By johnhunt92, johnhunt92 is a Roar Rookie

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    A general view of Etihad Stadium during an AFL match. Slattery Images.

    A general view of Etihad Stadium during an AFL match. Slattery Images.

    I have written about this before, but I feel this topic needs to be revisited at this time of the year: Melbourne needs a third football stadium.

    Since the late 1980s and early 90s, ground rationalisation and the desire for city football has seen the demise of Windy Hill, Victoria Park, Princess Park, Whitten Oval, Moorabbin and Waverley Park.

    While most had to go due to their dilapidated conditions (Victoria Park, Whitten Oval etc), some were just punted because of a desire to have only two grounds working in Melbourne (Waverley, Princess Park).

    The result has in many ways been positive:

    1. Better conditions for fans.
    2. Modern effective and workable stadiums for broadcasters and corporate sponsors.
    3. Better playing conditions for players.
    4. More opportunities for bigger crowds.

    But this situation has also created many problems:

    1. Surrendered the AFL’s ability to control a ground full-time, and keep all revenue to a stadium desperate to make money (Docklands) and a stadium home to another six-month sport (MCG).

    2. Has left struggling teams slaves to ground deals that short change AFL clubs pulling power.

    3. Left south-west Melbourne (where a majority of Melbournians reside) without a football stadium in their area so the AFL could put invest in a stadium in the city, a long way from the growth belt.

    4. Destroyed the concept and spirit of having a proper home ground.

    The MCG and Docklands have around 48 games each next season. Docklands stadium’s pitch, which was always considered suspect, proved last year that in a desire to make money (AC/DC concert), the surface will suffer and players’ safety will be compromised.

    Also, with the introduction of Gold Coast this year and GWS Giants in 2012, many games such involving low-supported teams like Melbourne and North Melbourne will see embarrassing looking crowds and will add pressure to the bottom-line.

    In seeing these issues, I feel Melbourne needs a third AFL stadium in the south-west of Melbourne with a capacity of 25-35,000 that can cater for many of these issues (AFL controls ground and revenue, lessens Docklands ground stress, make low drawing game crowds look less embarrassing).

    While the Waverley site is out of bounds (Hawthorn’s training ground and a housing estate), places like Moorabbin or Casey Fields that have football history but lack football are perfect places for the AFL to invest in, updating a stadium and playing games.

    The AFL could schedule between 10-15 games at these grounds which would also give the people of south-west Melbourne a chance to see games in their own backyard. St Kilda who have roots in the area, could maybe do a six-six split of games with Docklands to give the ground a home tenant.

    The AFL won but also lost in the ground rationalisation phase. A third stadium will go a long way to fixing some of those issues.

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    The Crowd Says (47)

    • March 1st 2011 @ 4:25am
      Chris White said | March 1st 2011 @ 4:25am | ! Report

      You mean South East?

      • March 1st 2011 @ 11:50am
        Axelv said | March 1st 2011 @ 11:50am | ! Report

        The South West is Port Philip Bay. Who does he want this stadium for, the fish?

    • Roar Guru

      March 1st 2011 @ 6:53am
      The_Wookie said | March 1st 2011 @ 6:53am | ! Report

      I thoroughly agree with the stadium concept. However I still believe that Melbournes infrastructure is ideal for placing it within the sports precinct around the MCG/Olympic Park/MRS/Etihad/National Tennis Centre area. And to be fair, they get etihad to themselves after a relatively short time.

      Agree with everything else though. Would be an ideal location for smaller clubs to play interstate teams, hell it could be turned into a shared facility for interstate teams.

    • Roar Guru

      March 1st 2011 @ 8:38am
      Ben Carter said | March 1st 2011 @ 8:38am | ! Report

      John – I gave your post a cheer for the worthiness of the debate, even if I don’t personally agree. To me, the AFL metaphorically shot itself in the foot by neglecting the suburban grounds at the grand expense of beefing up the MCG and The Dome. Does the AFL really need a third footy venue in Melbourne, already crowded as it is with facilities? I’m unconvinced, especially after the way AAMI Park was a poor-ish, cut-down-looking version of what A-League and NRL fans probably wanted. If “stadium III” was an AFL-only job, I’m sure some might cry foul once more about the sport’s influence in the state. That doesn’t mean I hate footy – I don’t, but doesn’t the AFL think it already has enough stuff in Victoria? Does it/would it really want to reinforce the Vic-centric-ness for everyone else to get mildly irritated by?

      • Roar Guru

        March 1st 2011 @ 9:01am
        The_Wookie said | March 1st 2011 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        AFL pays the bills in Melbourne. Its a fact. No AFL = No constant upgrades to the MCG, No Etihad. I think the victorian government sees the situation with the MRS, as a means for smaller crowds to get closer to the action, but that bigger stadiums already exist for those rare occasions that non afl sports need a 30k + stadium. The AFL in Victoria is quite literally an investment that will definitely pay for itself, if the AFL didnt just build it with its own money.

    • March 1st 2011 @ 8:54am
      Brett McKay said | March 1st 2011 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      Would a refurb of Princes Park not suit this need??

      • Roar Guru

        March 1st 2011 @ 8:58am
        The_Wookie said | March 1st 2011 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        Id have thought so, but theres aroudn 30 million required apparently to get it done.

        • March 1st 2011 @ 9:06am
          Brett McKay said | March 1st 2011 @ 9:06am | ! Report

          and a new 25-30K seat stadium would cost…..??

          • Roar Guru

            March 1st 2011 @ 9:08am
            The_Wookie said | March 1st 2011 @ 9:08am | ! Report

            i hear you brett, and carlton have presented that to the AFL at the height of the tension over stadium costs, but nothing came of it.

            • March 1st 2011 @ 9:18am
              Brett McKay said | March 1st 2011 @ 9:18am | ! Report

              I suppose the need disappeared at the time. I’d imagine it will return before too long though…

      • March 1st 2011 @ 9:05am
        gfunk said | March 1st 2011 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        i agree with Princes Park being re-developed, pretty sure that has been considered recently especially since carlton / storm etc. have been putting work into refurbing their facilitites at the location????

        • Roar Guru

          March 1st 2011 @ 9:09am
          The_Wookie said | March 1st 2011 @ 9:09am | ! Report

          Storm were temporarily based there, now house at the MRS, the Rebels have a shiny new facility at Princes Park though.

    • Roar Guru

      March 1st 2011 @ 9:08am
      Redb said | March 1st 2011 @ 9:08am | ! Report

      Certainly a boutique 25,000 seater would suit the AFL and be good for footy fans especially for Nth Melb, Bulldogs against interstate sides,etc. Perfect for NAB Cup, VFL finals, TAC Cup finals,etc.

      It is definitely needed.

      Princes Park the most likely choice or something in the inner south-east.

    • March 1st 2011 @ 9:47am
      Funktapuss said | March 1st 2011 @ 9:47am | ! Report

      Before the recent change of regimes here in Victoria, North Melbourne was due to relocate to Ballarat.

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