By JARROD POTTER
WHETHER Stingray or Panther, all athletes will benefit from the completed works to Shepley Oval’s main pavilion.
The Keith Miller Pavilion at Shepley Oval has watched over the likes of Dandenong Redlegs champions Jim “Frosty” Miller and Tony Elshaug, test cricketers Peter Siddle and Cameron White as well as a litany of Dandenong Stingrays’ rising stars and will continue to house the best and brightest south-east sportspeople into the future after a well-needed renovation.
After a long, and at times frustrating, year of capital works on the site the facilities were completed this week prior to unveiling by Greater Dandenong mayor Jim Memeti, Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum and representatives from AFL Victoria and Cricket Victoria on Saturday morning.
With a $1.25 million price tag, the renovations have brought Shepley Oval up to the best in the state alongside facilities at Casey Fields and Highgate Reserve and will likely draw additional high-calibre clashes to the venue such as state representative games and junior national championships.
The Greater Dandenong Council contributed $650,000 to the redevelopment with significant contributions also being allocated by the Victorian Government ($312,000), AFL Victoria ($200,000) and Cricket Victoria ($40,000).
“It is a wonderful asset to our city and it is home to Greater Dandenong’s premier Australian rules football and men’s cricket clubs,” Memeti said.
“The redevelopment of this pavilion will also enable these clubs to prosper to an elite level catering for the future development of clubs particular growth into junior pathways.”
The redevelopment included the creation of two large change rooms, upgraded amenities, a dedicated ice bath room, new medical, physio and coaches rooms, a new gymnasium and upgraded offices for AFL Victoria and the Dandenong Stingrays.
Stingrays region manager Mark Wheeler said the redevelopments allow the TAC Cup club to step up to the next level with a comfortable training and playing space.
“The facility was something we always said we needed to get upgraded to give us a level playing field and now that we’ve got it, I think for the boys it just makes them a little bit more comfortable each week when they come to training,” Wheeler said.
The facility will be put through its rigours in November when the Dandenong Stingrays commence training for its under-18 men and newly formed Youth Girls’ Academy.
“It’s (women’s football) one of our biggest growth sports – we’ve got to make sure we look after that,” Wheeler said.
“120-plus trying out for a squad of 45 is amazing and the girls that are trying out could match it out here with the boys and that’s great.”