Cricket play for AFL club training hub

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CRICKET could be coming to Frankston in a big way after the Saints march out of Seaford’s Linen House sporting complex.

The Times can reveal Cricket Victoria has been in touch with Frankston Council to talk about possibly leasing space at the centre.

St Kilda Football Club is set to leave Seaford and head back to its “spiritual home” of Moorabbin just four years after Frankston Council kicked in about $4 million of ratepayers’ money to a joint AFL, state government and council deal to entice the Saints to Seaford.

The Saints pay a peppercorn rent of $1 per year to council and share maintenance costs at the Linen House training and office base.

Councillors discussed St Kilda’s exit from Seaford behind closed doors for commercial-in-confidence reasons after last week’s public council meeting.

“There are a number of key stakeholders who have expressed an interest in being a part of the facility post St Kilda including Cricket Victoria and AFL South East,” Frankston mayor Brian Cunial said in a statement.

“However no firm commitment has been given to any party.”

It is understood councillors have talked about a potential timeline for the Saints pulling up stumps at Seaford.

Cricket Victoria spokesman Hamish Jones confirmed Frankston could become a prominent player in the state’s cricketing future.

“Cricket Victoria is having discussions with Frankston Council regarding an opportunity for a future regional cricket hub as part of our statewide Community Cricket Program,” Mr Jones said in a statement.

“This is an ongoing project focused on providing infrastructure to empower local cricketers and support continued growth in participation in the south east region.

“Cricket Victoria is currently talking to a range of stakeholders about these opportunities in the region and across Victoria.”

Questions about Cricket Victoria potentially leasing office space – St Kilda administrative staff work at Seaford – or the pitch at the sports centre went unanswered.

The arrival of Cricket Victoria could be a boon for council and ratepayers although some councillors have in recent months voiced discontent at public council meetings about the disappointing economic returns the AFL club’s move to Seaford provided compared to promised riches before the peppercorn rent lease deal was agreed. 

Any deal to bring the governing body of cricket in the state to the Frankston area would be heavily scrutinised.

“Council will be receiving a presentation from Cricket Victoria and have indicated that they are prepared to listen to the details of the proposal as a part of the development of a plan going forward,” Cr Cunial said.

“Council has community involvement as a key priority in our thinking and will naturally listen to any external party to determine what the final shape of any future use will be.”

Stage one of a $28.4 million revamp of Moorabbin Reserve has been approved by Kingston Council and is due to be completed by the start of the 2017-18 AFL season, possibly triggering St Kilda’s official move out of Seaford.

First published in the Frankston Times – 29 May 2017

This article was amended on 29 May 2017 to include comments from Frankston Council provided after the Frankston Times print edition deadline.

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