MILDURA is firming to host an AFL pre-season game in the near future after the Victorian Government yesterday said it was lobbying the game’s top brass.
The revelation came during a site inspection of the first-stage works on the $34 million Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct.
Parliamentary Secretary for Sport Danielle Green said Mildura would “tick a lot of boxes” for hosting major events, including AFL pre-season games, at the new venue.
“My understanding is that the AFL is very interested and I’ll be adding my voice to what a great idea it would be,” said Ms Green, who grew up in Mildura playing netball, basketball and hockey.
A Mildura Rural City Council spokeswoman said it also had a project team “lobbying for some big events to come here”, including AFL matches.
She said the council was in talks to additionally bring National Basketball League, Women’s National Basketball League and elite-level cricket games to the sparkling Mildura South precinct.
The six basketball courts are now in place. The show court – below the first-floor function and social rooms – will have seating for about 500 people.
The first games of basketball in the indoor stadium are expected to tip off once first-stage works are finished midway through this year.
Yesterday, local sub-contractors were toiling away as they laid the turf on the precinct’s premier sporting oval, where the competition-standard lighting towers were put in place just before Christmas.
The cricket centre square is now in place and more than half of the ground was covered in rolls of Santa Ana Couch when Sunraysia Daily visited the site late morning.
With the forecast of extreme heat over the next four days, the sprinklers will be working overtime to make sure the Santa Ana – a fine-leafed, warm-season couch grass – doesn’t suffer heat stress.
A council official said there would a 12-week establishment period for the grass.
Stage 1 of the project is on track to be completed by mid-2021. But the first footy game on the oval won’t be until next year when the SNFL season kicks off.
There will be no permanent grandstands at the main oval. However, the council says the stands will be brought in for major events with a seating capacity up to 20,000.
It is not clear, though, what the COVID capacity would be.