Geelong will be able to host crowds of 40,000 spectators at GMHBA Stadium once the COVID-19 threat passes after the state government committed a further $40 million to ensure the ground’s stage five redevelopment is completed.
The stadium, which is run by the Kardinia Trust, headed by former MCG CEO Stephen Gough, had already secured $102 million for the project but the extra $40 million to be included in 2020/21 state budget will ensure the completion of stage five.
The stage five proposal was for a two-tier northern stand to be built, replacing the Ford Stand and Ablett Terrace at the city end of the ground.
The new work will particularly benefit cricket in the region, creating a home for the Geelong cricket club as well as unisex change rooms.
The decision will be encouraging for several AFL clubs with applications for infrastructure project funding pending with the state government as they look to rebound from a tough year hampered by the COVID-19 restrictions.
It will also ensure Geelong CEO Brian Cook, who has overseen the stadium’s redevelopment, will see the completion of the job he started when he joined the club.
The Cats have been pushing to play 11 home games at the venue, however if COVID-19 restrictions on crowds are in place next season, as appears likely, they may play big games at the MCG.