Werribee-Geelong clash moved

Updated: April 16, 2015


FOR the second straight year Werribee has had to forfeit its opening VFL home game due to the condition of the centre wicket area at Avalon Airport Park.

It means the Tigers’ Friday night clash with Geelong to start the season will now be played under lights at Simonds Stadium.

“(Wyndham) Council took the step of sodding the centre wicket area immediately after the cricket had finished playing here, which was close to three weeks ago,” Werribee CEO Mark Penaluna told K-ROCK Football.com.au.

“After inspection from the AFL’s turf consultant and AFL Victoria, although the rest of the oval is in pristine condition, there were a couple of question marks in relation to the centre wicket table.”

In 2014, Werribee’s first round clash was moved to Highgate Reserve at Craigieburn, hurting the Tigers’ financially.

Penaluna  says this move will also hurt the bottom line.

“We haven’t played Geelong here for three years and there is a very big Geelong following in the area,” he said.

“Certainly from a financial point of view it’s going to hurt us hard.

“And we also had 180 coming for dinner, (including) our local federal member (of parliament), our local state member, (Geelong CEO) Brian Cook and members of the Geelong footy club board.”

Discussions have been held for a number of years about moving cricket off Avalon Airport Oval and Penaluna says those talks are ongoing.

“There was actually a report that went to council two years ago, which council ultimately accepted cricket would be relocated off this ground,” he said.

“We do have a meeting with the cricket club to discuss and exit strategy in the next few weeks.”

Geelong has agreed to swap it’s home game on July 11 to allow Werribee to host the Round 13 clash at Avalon Airport Oval, which is expected to be right for the Tigers’ ANZAC Day clash with North Ballarat.

First bounce on Friday night is at 7.30pm.

Twitter: @tom_king79

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