K rock Football

West to push for finals at upgraded facility

The ground view of the Stage 1 redevelopment of West Oval. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

WHEN AFL Barwon’s new Region General Manager starts in the role sometime in early 2021, the successful candidate can expect a phone call from Sarah Naylor.

The personable Geelong West Giants chairperson will no doubt be keen to welcome them to the role, while also politely pushing the case for the redeveloped West Oval to be on the agenda for the 2021 GFL finals series.

With AFL Barwon’s five-yeal deal with the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust for finals matches to be played at GMHBA Stadium concluded, the local governing body will have a decision to make on where September action will be held in 2021.

“As soon as I find out who it (new RGM) is, (I’ll be) straight on the phone,” Naylor laughed.

“We will definitely be pushing to have some sort of finals here.

“Whether that’s next year or in the near future, we’ll definitely be having those chats.”

A view of the function room as part of the West Oval redevelopment.

The $11m development by the Plan Group on the western wing features a 200-seat function centre, commercial kitchen, coaches boxes and female-friendly change rooms.

“West Oval is home to several sporting clubs and these upgrades will make it a second regional-level facility, an alternative to Kardinia Park and capable of hosting AFLW and VFL games” Greater Geelong councillor Ron Nelson said.

“The Council is proud of its investment in this much needed $11 million upgrade, which includes a club gym and space to fit 200 guests, allowing these clubs to grow and thrive.”

The view towards the north from the new stand.

As well as the new stand, the two netball courts have been resurfaced and improved car parking at the northern end and Church Street ground has been included in the upgrade.

The manual scoreboard in the south-east corner has been replaced by an electronic version, while the heritage-listed Flowers Family Stand has received some minor modifications.

“There’s so much we can do with this facility,” Naylor said.

“But, it’s not just for our club; it’s the whole community, and that’s what we want it to be.

“It’s a community facility, and we want as many people using it as possible, not just our club.”

The coaches’ boxes and the timekeepers’ box.

Naylor said West is keen for a GFL-GDFL double-header to mark the opening of the new facility in the first half of both seasons.

“We won’t be playing games here the first few rounds, but we’re waiting for Plan Group and Council to give us the go-ahead when we can fixture some home games,” she said.

“We’re hoping to do that the first home game we have here. That’s in the planning stages.

“We’ve just got to work out when we can actually do that.”

The home changeroom.

Giants GFL coach Greg Mellor says it’s a welcome boost for a growing club.

“We have two arms of football with the GFL and the GDFL programs, we’ve got two women’s footy teams, our GFL and GDFL netball, and a really strong junior program, that we need to have a really good facility,” he said.

“And Geelong needs to have another good facility, too.

“Our old facilities were 60-years-old and really tired, so we’re really excited about it.”

Representatives from the Geelong West football, netball and cricket clubs inspect the new facility.

Twitter: @tom_king79