Rugby League in Victoria is set for an exciting new home, with the Andrews Labor Government today delivering a $12 million funding package towards a Rugby League State and Community Centre.
The announcement, made by Treasurer, the Hon. Tim Pallas, MP, during Melbourne Storm’s NRL game against Newcastle tonight, is a game changer for the sport in Victoria.
The new Rugby League State and Community Centre, to be based in Broadmeadows, will become the new home for NRL Victoria, currently based at Storm’s AAMI Park Headquarters.
It will also become the home to a future Storm women’s team, in addition to hosting training camps, state league matches and local rugby league and touch football competitions.
Victorian Treasurer, the Hon. Tim Pallas MP said that today’s announcement signified the long-term commitment of the Andrews’ government to rugby league in this state.
“Melbourne Storm have been the best performing sporting club in the nation this century and allowing them to better service and connect with their growing fan base will allow them to continue that success – on and off the field.
“The Rugby League State and Community Centre is an important investment in the future of rugby league in Victoria and will allow it to continue to grow – as it should, in this, the sporting capital of the world."
Minister for Sport, the Hon. John Eren, said the state government was proud to support rugby league’s continued growth in Victoria.
“We’re proud to be strengthening the future of rugby league in Victoria – building the first Rugby League State and Community Centre which will be the future home of the Melbourne Storm women’s team.”
Member for Broadmeadows Frank McGuire expressed the delight of his electorate to host the new Rugby League State and Community Centre.
“Broadmeadows is the new field of dreams for Melbourne Storm, which has the discipline, teamwork and commitment it takes to build a world championship club. The Rugby League State and Community Centre will inspire today’s youth and future generations and build community cohesion.”
Melbourne Storm CEO Dave Donaghy said: “We thank the Premier, the Treasurer and the entire Andrews Labor Government for today’s announcement and for their vision in continuing to invest in the future of rugby league in Victoria, which is experiencing a rapid growth in all forms of the game."
“The Rugby League State and Community Centre will deliver programs ranging from grassroots community to the elite, for both men and women, significantly enhancing the chances of the number of home grown rugby league stars to make all the way to the top of our game. This will be rugby league’s home for community, development and education programs in Victoria and will create enormous excitement for our participant base.”
Following the NRL’s announcement in March of the inaugural National Women’s Premiership (NWP) to commence later this year, the Rugby League State and Community Centre will provide facilities and participation pathways for Victorian women as Storm commence their push for a future licence.
Rugby league in Victoria has experienced enormous growth over the last 10 years, with participation rates increasing by more than 300 per cent over that time. Across the 24 rugby league clubs in metropolitan and regional Victoria, nearly one in five players are female and today’s announcement will provide a significant platform for these numbers to reach even greater heights over the next decade.
The support of the Andrews Labor Government towards the Rugby League State and Community Centre continues the investment into facilities and programs that support Rugby League in Victoria, on the back of the 2017 World Cup and Game 1 of the 2018 State of Origin Series to be played at the MCG in June.
The announcement is part of the Andrews Labor Government’s broader investment into sport in this State made on Friday morning around facilities and major events.