NIGHT football matches in Warrnambool are on the agenda for next season under plans by Hampden league club South Warrnambool.
The Roosters have bought six 30-metre light towers for a bargain price from the Macarthur wind farm and aim to transform Friendly Societies’ Park into the best floodlit ground in the south-west.
President Jock O’Connor said the club’s aim was to have the light towers up and going for next season but stressed it had a lot of work to do.
He said the project was the club’s major off-field focus this year.
It is part of a longer- term plan to upgrade the ground’s infrastructure, which also includes a new scoreboard, improved change rooms and playing surface.
The club purchased the light towers after Warrnambool City Council agreed to improve the electricity capabilities at the venue. Those works are in the council’s budget this year.
O’Connor said the club believed night games were critical to its long-term success.
“The expectation is we are looking to have night games,” he said.
“The way to go for anyone in the country is to try and draw a crowd to make some revenue.
“I see night games as a way to do that.
“We have to do something out of the box. The AFL is killing everyone. It is getting bigger and crowds are just dropping off and country clubs are struggling.
“That’s our goal (the lights). Will it happen next year or not? I don’t know but we are aiming for it.”
O’Connor said South Warrnambool was keen to get the light tower project going. “It’s far from a done deal,” he said.
“I don’t want to go off too early about it but it is our task for the year.”
Cobden is the only venue in the region where night games are played and the recreation reserve has four light towers.
South Warrnambool’s plan is to use all six it purchased.
O’Connor said a Warrnambool venue with good lighting would open the door for night-time blockbusters, including finals.
Night finals could also help the city’s two leagues avoid scheduling clashes.
Cobden hosts at least two night games a season, generally before winter.
Work started this week on replacing the roof on the change rooms at the Friendly Societies’ Park, with an upgrade of umpires’ change facilities on the drawing board. Asbetsos was removed from under the roof yesterday.