Huge cash boosts as Roos, Tigers embark on HQ upgrades

ANOTHER two Victorian clubs – North Melbourne and Richmond – are winners out of the Victorian Government's 2020/21 budget, receiving multi-million-dollar funding for redevelopments.

It comes after the Western Bulldogs were granted $36.6 million for their Whitten Oval project, with Essendon also receiving $6.28 million for the club's Tullamarine base as it eyes entry into the AFLW as early as 2022.

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North Melbourne said it was granted "more than $7 million" for the second stage of development for its Arden Street headquarters.

A wide shot of North Melbourne's Arden St facilities during a VFL game in 2019. Picture: Getty Images

Construction will begin early next year on a variety of things, including community and A/VFLW female-friendly changerooms, umpire changerooms, a commercial kitchen and a re-design of the space allocated to the club's community arm, The Huddle.

"This next redevelopment will ensure we have state-of-the-art facilities for our four elite programs – AFL, AFLW, VFL and VFLW – which will continue to assist us in attracting top-end talent in the search for our next premiership," North Melbourne CEO Ben Amarfio said.

"The plans also add to our ability to play games at Arden St by providing away teams their own change rooms, as well as umpires changerooms, and rooms for the away team doctor and first aid.

"The expansion also includes upgrades to our community facilities to cater to the growing demand from local schools, sports clubs, cultural groups, universities and residents; providing access to resources to aid health and wellbeing, cultural identity, education, training, and employment programs and therefore strengthening social inclusion."

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Over at Punt Road, Richmond has been granted $15.5 million for a redevelopment of its oval and to build the William Cooper Centre, which will host the Korin Gamadji Institute, the Bachar Houli Foundation and accommodation for the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School.

Facilities will be upgraded for the men's and women's programs, while there are plans for the oval itself to be re-sized to the dimensions of the MCG.

Richmond AFLW players at training on Punt Road Oval in November. Picture: AFL Photos

The Tigers had to host AFLW games at Ikon Park this year, rather than at home, but the development will allow for crowds of up to 8000 to attend.

"We need our AFL program to train on a ground that is the same dimensions as the MCG and we want our AFLW and second-tier competition teams to play at a venue that not only meets their needs, but that of those supporters that come to watch them play," Tigers president Peggy O’Neal said.

"To achieve that outcome and ensure Richmond remains at Punt Road Oval long into the future we need to remove the Jack Dyer Stand. Elements of the stand will be retained and incorporated in the new facility.

"These recent years have been an exciting chapter in our rich history, and this redevelopment is the crucial next phase as we continue to build a club that our members and supporters are proud to be a part of."