JUNIOR AFL CLUBS WELCOME ST LUKE’S OVAL FUNDING PROMISE
Junior AFL clubs say a promised $1.4m funding boost – to continue the redevelopment of St Luke’s Oval in Concord – will help them meet increasing demand for greenspace in part boosted by strong growth in youth girls AFL.
The clubs – Drummoyne Power, Concord Giants and the Canada Bay Cannons – have welcomed the funding pledge, announced by federal Labor candidate for Reid, Sam Crosby, and have called on the federal Liberal Party, and candidate Fiona Martin, to match the commitment.
The AFL clubs that share St Luke’s Oval have no political position but rather want to work with all levels of government across the political spectrum to finish the refurbishment of, and improvements to, St Luke’s Oval.
The City of Canada Bay has budgeted an additional $660,000 for the project in 2020/21, AFL NSW/ACT has previously promised funds of just over $200,000 and the State Government has contributed $230,000.
The clubs are calling on New South Wales Minister for Sport John Sidoti to continue backing the project and support the clubs’ application for $1m grant from the next round of Great Sydney Sports Facility funding.
“There is enormous pressure on greenspace, in part due to the number of girls taking up footy for the first time now that pathways to AFL Women’s have opened,” said Milan Serovich, the President of Drummoyne Power/Canada Bay Cannons.
“In 2015, the Cannons fielded five youth teams – all of them boys. Today we have 14 Cannons teams – five of them are girls only teams. Our clubs are bursting at the seams.”
While there have been some works to improve the facility, Concord Giants President Jamie Reeves said more needs to be done to ensure the AFL precinct is capable of hosting all games and training from U5 through to youth and youth girls, in one convenient location.
“It is particularly important to upgrade the playing surface,” he said, with the club favouring a durable grass/hybrid grass surface.
Another important aspect of the upgrade is new change room facilities. “At the moment, when we have both girls and boys playing, we are seeing teams – particularly girls’ teams – forced to use second rate toilet facilities to change,” Jamie said.