Ballarat ready for AFL: Clarkson

PREMIERSHIP coach Alastair Clarkson believes Ballarat is ready for AFL football, comparing Ballarat’s future AFL prospects with those in Launceston. 

Speaking to The Courier on Saturday while at Ballarat Clarendon College for an old collegians’ cricket match, Clarkson said there was no reason why Eureka Stadium couldn’t one day host AFL games. Clarkson said Hawthorn and the Tasmanian community had experienced “great success” with the team moving its away games to Aurora Stadium in Launceston, adding the same could happen in Ballarat. 

But he said the concept needed government support.

“Ballarat is a football town and it’s a passionate place,” Clarkson said. 

“If it (Eureka Stadium) was to secure that government support, then I’m sure it could be a facility which would be worth playing games at.

“These regional areas are all worth exploring in terms of playing AFL footy at.”

In 2010, Ballarat seemed closer than ever to making it happen when the Labor Party promised $30 million to redevelop the stadium. 

Four years later and with another state election coming up, Ballarat City Council has set its sights lower to a 6000-seat upgrade as it hopes to achieve some kind of funding for the stadium.

Clarkson said Eureka Stadium could attract crowds of up to 15,000 a game with the right facilities. 

Ballarat City councillor Des Hudson told The Courier in February the council was striving to bring regular games to the city. 

He said the council hadn’t downgraded its vision for the stadium but was instead breaking it up into smaller “bite-sized” stages, which might prove more attractive for government funding.

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