Buninyong senior coach Jarrod Morgan believes his club is better placed to recruit top quality footballers following completion of its brand new oval.
The Bombers will host their first Central Highlands Football League fixture following the major redevelopment against Ballan this Saturday.
Pitchcraft Australia has completed the works, which included new drainage and irrigation systems, surface profile re-shaping, new sand cap installation and couch turf installation and establishment.
The job cost $500,000, with $450,000 coming from the City of Ballarat and $50,000 from the state government.
Morgan said he was at the ground on Friday and described it as “unbelievable” and “incredible”.
He felt the ability to recruit players to Buninyong would be enhanced by the new facility.
“I’ve had conversations with five or six really good football players from the BFL (Ballarat Football League) over the last three or four years who all said that one big sticking point was the surfaces and not wanting to play through mud through the middle of winter,” Morgan said.
The Buninyong oval has been one of the worst in the Central Highlands league during the wetter months, with the ground deteriorating badly at the hands of heavy rain.
A sinkhole appeared at the venue last September before the major redevelopment began.
Morgan said the club had often been forced to find alternative venues for training and believed players recovered slowly after playing on the heavy surface.
“Playing on a quick deck every week and to be able to train and pull up better every home game, that’s hopefully going to be a bit of an advantage for us,” he told The Courier.
Buninyong Cricket Club will be another of the major beneficiaries of the upgrade.
The club is set to enter the Ballarat Cricket Association first grade competition next season and has plans to install a turf wicket at the ground.
In December last year, the club received a commitment of $5000 from the state government to help with the turf wicket project, which is hoped to be complete for the 2019-20 season.
Saturday’s first game on the new Buninyong oval follows upgrades at fellow Central Highlands league venues Waubra and Smythesdale.
The Waubra facility was launched during the club’s opening round clash with neighbours Learmonth, while the Bulldogs played their first home game in more than a season when Rokewood-Corindhap came to town last Saturday.