AN indoor sports stadium with the ability to host high-level basketball and netball is a step closer to reality for the Greater Geelong region.
Work on a business case has commenced following the provision of $50,000 in funding by the City of Greater Geelong (COGG).
Geelong United Basketball CEO Mark Neeld said the work of COGG councillors Peter Murrihy and Kylie Gryzbek in advocating for a facility as part of a wider strategy for indoor sports across the city had been crucial.
Neeld said fellow councillors Bruce Harwood and Pat Murnane have also been supportive of the proposal, which has been earmarked for a possible location in Grovedale.
“The facility will be used from grassroots to elite, as well as Increase facilities for female participation,” Neeld said.
“It will position Geelong to host WNBL, Super Netball, and National Championships for both sports.”
As well as discussions between COGG and Geelong United Basketball, Basketball Victoria and Netball Victoria are also being consulted on the project.
Geelong is trailing behind other Victorian regional centres when it comes to an elite indoor facility, with Bendigo and Ballarat both receiving significant funding for upgrades in recent years.
“It’s terrific to see the City of Greater Geelong undertaking the Indoor Recreation Facilities Strategy and leading the regional sports development feasibility study,” Netball Victoria’s General Manager of Participation Mel Taylor said.
“Netball Victoria is committed to supporting this work, and partnering with Council and Geelong United Basketball makes sure we get a really good outcome for the Geelong region.”
“The Greater Geelong region is currently missing out on opportunities to host major events such as Suncorp Super Netball and NBL and WNBL matches, junior championships or Masters events.”
Like Geelong United Basketball, Taylor said Netball Victoria is also keen to grow the game at the grassroots level.
“Netball Victoria really want to see more people playing netball, and we’d like the ability to deliver a broader range of programs to attract more people to our game,” Taylor said.
“We want to cater to a growing netball community.”
“Geelong has a strong track record of producing world-class netballers; Simone McKinnis, Tegan Philip, Madi and Kelsey Browne, and now we see Allie Smith playing on the biggest stage.
“New indoor facilities are essential in supporting the next generation of netball stars.”
“Added to this, the Geelong Cougars are effectively homeless – training at different facilities and hosting home games at a school venue with limited spectator capacity.
“The Cougars would really benefit from, and they deserve quality indoor facilities.”