On Friday night, Geelong fans will for the first time in 2017 get to see their side back playing at the Cattery.
Geelong will play their first home game at Simonds Stadium for the year following the conclusion of the latest in a series of stadium redevelopments.
The Cats will face off against the reigning premiers Western Bulldogs in a critical match, both clubs coming off disappointing losses and in need of a win to keep their season on track.
The Stage 4 redevelopments involved the demolition of the Brownlow Stand and A.R Jennings Stand at the conclusion of the 2015 season, to be replaced by a new and improved Charles Brownlow Stand. The ground’s capacity will be increased to 36,000 with the construction of the new stand, with the upcoming matchup against the Bulldogs expected to be a sell-out.
The redevelopments will provide the Geelong Football Club with state of the art facilities will the additional focus on the enhancement of facilities for the greater Geelong community, which includes;
- A beautiful and welcoming café;
- Increased public seating including greater levels of undercover spectator seating;
- A new and improved Geelong Football Club Social Club;
- New training, administration and players’ facilities for the GFC;
- New facilities for media and broadcast personnel;
- A large, multi-purpose function room;
- A community-based rehabilitation centre which will assist individuals and enable them to engage in return-to-work training, this will be known as The Sunrise Centre;
- Player welfare and development centre;
- A gymnasium and cardio area that will be the largest in the city, about three times the size of the club’s existing gym and;
- Improved game-day spaces including a Geelong Football Club shield shaped locker room, auditorium and hybrid change room to cater to the future VFL and women’s team
[Kardina Park Stadium Trust]
The fifth and final stage of redevelopment is set to begin at the start of 2018, with plans to replace Ford Stand, Ablett Terrace and Southern Terrace, in addition to the refurbishment of the Hickey Stand. At the completion of stage 5 redevelopment, Simonds Stadium will be able to hold around 40,000 fans.
The redevelopments at Simonds Stadium is set to boost tourism in Geelong and surrounding areas with the opportunity to host a number of major national and international sporting events, such as; T20, ODIs and Domestic cricket, Super Rugby, NRL, A-League, International Soccer Friendlies and concerts.
Geelong will also have a stronger case for more finals to be played at Simonds Stadium under the circumstances that they have the home ground advantage (instead of playing at Etihad), in addition to a great number of Friday and Saturday night matches.
The Cats will hope they can celebrate to opening of their revitalised stadium with a win over the Bulldogs, upon doing so snapping a three-game losing streak.
The last time the Cats lost four straight matches was in 2006 and whilst the Bulldogs go in as favourites they will be looking to break some losing streaks of their own, without a win against the dominant Cats in the last 10 times the sides have met. Luke Beveridge has never won a game against the Cats as senior coach and if that’s not enough the last time the Dogs beat Geelong at home was way back in 2003, when the now Simonds Stadium was still known as Skilled Stadium.
The Cats and the Dogs will both be hungry for a win to keep themselves in the hunt for a top four spot and in such a highly competitive season every single win is as important as the next.