CAMPERDOWN will host a TAC Cup match for the first time next year as an unprecedented number of elite junior matches are showcased in the south-west.
Leura Oval, Warrnambool’s Reid Oval and Hamilton’s Melville Oval have been scheduled to host TAC Cup under 18 games — the breeding ground of AFL players.
North Ballarat Rebels and Geelong Falcons, which draw on talent from the south-west, will play their home-and-away clashes at Warrnambool in round two and Camperdown in round 13.
The Rebels will also play their round 17 match against the Coburg-based Calder Cannons at Hamilton on August 17.
AFL Victoria Geelong Falcons talent manager Michael Turner said he was excited his club would take a home game to Camperdown for the first time on the first weekend of July.
“We train there now and we’ve helped out the Leura Oval committee of management by putting some funds in there,” Turner said.
“Camperdown has been pushing pretty hard for us to play a game there.”
Turner said the Falcons had looked at Camperdown this year but their complex fixture with home games at Geelong’s Kardinia Park and Werribee had prevented it from happening.
“We play North Ballarat Rebels in Warrnambool and then we have the return match at Camperdown,” he said. “You would hope the people who follow the North Ballarat Rebels and people from Warrnambool will come across.”
Turner said the Reid and Leura ovals were good facilities.
“They have great infrastructure,” he said.
“We have to have proper change rooms, the umpires have to have proper change rooms, there needs to be elevated coaches boxes and stats boxes.
“It’s not just a matter of rolling up and playing a game at any country ground. Colac has done a lot of work on its ground but they don’t have elevated coaches’ boxes. Reid Oval and Camperdown do.”
AFL Victoria North Ballarat Rebels talent manager Phil Partington said his club was keen to hold a home game annually in Warrnambool.
But the March 30 fixture is not definite.
Partington said the Rebels would have to be satisfied the centre wicket area was soft enough for play.
The Rebels are aware the ground is booked by the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) that weekend.
“We want to play there,” Partington said.
The WDCA has first option on the ground under state laws which say grounds are reserved for cricket until March 31. The association’s grand finals are scheduled for the previous weekend but general manager Michael Harrison said if rain affected the matches, a reserve day would be available.
That day was March 29, meaning Reid Oval would be free on Sunday.