AFL names Reid Oval best new community facility

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Warrnambool’s Reid Oval has been named the best new community football facility in Australia by the AFL.

The newly redeveloped Reid Oval was named as the national winner of the AFL Ken Gannon Community Football Facility Awards by the head of AFL Victoria Ben Kavenagh on Tuesday afternoon.

Ken Gannon is a former CEO of the Geelong Football Club and of AFL Victoria, and spent over a decade working to improve community football facilities.

Completed in 2022, the $10.7 million Reid Oval upgrade involved the construction of a new state-of-the-art pavilion with facilities that cater equally for males and females, new lights bright enough to host night games, a new playing surface and better training facilities.

Warrnambool Mayor Cr Debbie Arnott said that to have Reid Oval recognised at a national level was a great honour.

“It’s amazing recognition for the hard work and dedication of so many people over many years, from securing the funding, to developing the project, managing construction and of course, making the most of the state-of-the-art facilities for the betterment of the wider community,” she said.

“As a Council, we see the immense value sporting clubs have in creating healthy communities. And part of our role at Council is to do what we can to get as many people as possible involved in sport.

“Two of the major objectives of the redevelopment were to increase female participation and to have a facility capable of hosting regional and national competitions, so it was especially pleasing to be able to combine these two when we hosted our first ever AFL Women’s game in October.

“To think about what Reid Oval has hosted just in the past year, from the AFLW game, to junior girls footy under lights, local league grand finals, AFL community camps, it’s just so exciting to know that this is just the beginning.

“We’re a city that loves its sport, and we now have a showcase venue that matches that passion.

“Throughout the project we spoke regularly about Reid Oval being the jewel in Warrnambool’s sporting crown. What today’s award recognises is that Reid Oval is also a jewel in the crown of the Australian football community and that’s something that as a city, we should be immensely proud of.”

Head of AFL Victoria Ben Kavenagh congratulated all involved in the project. 

“At AFL Victoria we aim to support the provision of well-positioned, welcoming, accessible, fit for purpose football facilities that support our game’s growing strategic priorities,” he said.

“The redeveloped Reid Oval has delivered on all of our facility priorities in spades.

“The AFL formally adopted the creation of the Ken Gannon Community Football Facility Awards to annually recognise best practice in community football facility development across Australia and recognise the people, the clubs and the many other critical stakeholders driving our best projects.”

The Reid Oval redevelopment was funded by the Victorian Government, the Warrnambool City Council, AFL, Cricket Victoria and local clubs and associations.