Moorabbin Oval

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Moorabbin Oval
Linen House Oval
St Kilda Football Club take part in a training drill in front of the G. G. Huggins Stand and social club facilities at Moorabbin Oval prior to the 2009 AFL Grand Final
Former names Moorabbin Oval
Location 32-60 Linton Street, Moorabbin, Victoria
Coordinates 37°56′15″S 145°02′38″E / 37.9375°S 145.0439°E / -37.9375; 145.0439Coordinates: 37°56′15″S 145°02′38″E / 37.9375°S 145.0439°E / -37.9375; 145.0439
Owner St Kilda Saints Football Club Ltd
Operator St Kilda Saints Football Club Ltd
Surface Grass
Opened 1952
Tenants
St Kilda Football Club (1965-) VFL/AFL (1965-1992).
Melbourne Reds, ABL (1994-1999).

Moorabbin Oval, also known by its sponsorship name of Linen House Oval, is an Australian Rules Football ground in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia at Linton Street in the suburb of Moorabbin.

The ground was most notable as the home of the St Kilda Football Club in the Australian Football League, serving as its home ground for VFL/AFL matches from 1965 until 1992, and as its primary training and administrative base from 1965 until 2010.

History[edit]

In 1951, the growing City of Moorabbin committed to developing a fenced football venue which was up to Victorian Football Association standards to be used by the Moorabbin Football Club. The strong club had been admitted from the Federal District League to the VFA in 1951, and its continued admission was contingent on the council developing Moorabbin Oval for its use.[1] The venue became one of the highest quality venues in the Association, and was noted for having the largest playing surface in the Association, similar in size to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Starting from 1960, the Moorabbin Council worked actively to bring VFL football to the venue. After it was found that the VFL was unlikely to admit the Moorabbin Football Club as a new team,[2] the council began negotiating for existing VFL clubs, many of which were dissatisfied with their home grounds at the time, to move to Moorabbin. In 1963, both Richmond and Fitzroy were approached,[3] and then in early 1964, the council came to an agreement with the St Kilda Football Club. St Kilda relocated its training, playing and administrative base from the St Kilda Cricket Ground to Moorabbin Oval at the end of the 1964 season.[4]

The council invested a further £100,000 to bring the venue to VFL standards and expand its capacity to 50,000. The St Kilda Football Club signed a 75-year - £5,000 per year (initially) deal for the ground, under which it became ground manager, and committed to invest £120,000 in establishing a licensed social club and to invest £375,000 for ground improvements over the first 45 years of the deal (a period which expired at approximately the end of 2009). The Moorabbin Football Club, then the defending VFA premiers, supported the move and attempted an amalgamation with St Kilda, actions which resulted in its suspension from the VFA.[5] A new grandstand was finished before the 1965 VFL season. The St Kilda Football Club completed its financial obligation to make ground improvements prior to the end of 2009, including redeveloping the G.G. Huggins Stand into the main training and administration base for the club when home games at Moorabbin ceased in 1992.[6] The 75 year deal precludes Moorabbin Oval from being sold until approximately 2039.

St Kilda Football Club[edit]

St Kilda Football Club's move to Moorabbin Oval was seen as highly successful. In its first season at the new ground the club played in front of capacity crowds. The Saints' first ever home game at Moorabbin attracted a record crowd of 51,370 against Collingwood in Round 1, 1965, a record that was never broken. When it was first used, Moorabbin Oval was the third largest ground by capacity in metropolitan Melbourne after the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Princes Park Football Ground; it was relegated to fourth place following the opening of VFL Park in 1970.

St Kilda ceased playing home games at Moorabbin Oval after 1992 and began playing home fixtures at Waverley Park, as part of the AFL's grounds rationalization strategy of early 1990s; the club received $430,000 upfront and $120,000 per year for three years from the AFL as part of the change, which helped to clear some of the club's debt.[7] St Kilda's final home game for premiership points at Moorabbin Oval was the Round 20 match on 1 August 1992, an 18 point win over the Fitzroy Lions in front of 27,736.[8]

The St Kilda Football Club played 254 matches for premiership points at Moorabbin Oval between 1965 and 1992, with an average attendance of 21,232.

St Kilda Football Club Match Record at Moorabbin Oval
Venue Played Won Lost Drawn Most Recent Match
Moorabbin Oval 254
~
134
(52.76%)
118
(46.46%)
2
(0.78%)
1992 AFL Premiership Season Round 20
1965 to 1992

After home games ceased being played at Moorabbin Oval, the club maintained its training and administrative base at the ground. The ground was extensively renovated to provide training, administration and entertainment facilities within the Huggins Stand and a heritage museum. Moorabbin Oval remains the club's training, administration and entertainment base. The G.G. Huggins Stand has three internal floors that contain player rooms, a fully equipped player gymnasium, football department meeting rooms, administration offices, a membership department, gaming room and bar, the Trevor Barker Room (a function room with a bar), club shop, trophy and memorabilia display areas and other facilities.

In 2007, the relationship between the club and the City of Kingston deteriorated, and St Kilda announced that it would move its primary administrative and training base away from Moorabbin, despite still having 33 years remaining on its lease. A new facility was built at Belvedere Park in Seaford, approximately 21 kilometers south of Moorabbin; the development was a St Kilda Football Club development in conjunction with the Frankston City Council, the State Government Of Victoria and the AFL. St Kilda moved to the Seaford base after the 2010 season;[9] but, the club still manages Moorabbin Oval under its original lease, and uses it as a retail, museum and entertainment venue, and occasional training venue.[10]

The ground will undergo an $8M redevelopment in 2015 and 2016, with the intention of making it the primary community football ground in south-eastern Melbourne from 2017. It will serve as the primary home ground for the Sandringham Dragons, the Southern Football League and the planned stand-alone VFL reserves team of the St Kilda Football Club, and as the administrative centre for football development in the south-east.[11]

Melbourne Reds[edit]

Moorabbin Oval was the home of the Melbourne Reds in the former Australian Baseball League from 1994 to 1999.

VFL/AFL Records[edit]

An estimated crowd of 10,000[12] packed into Moorabbin Oval to watch St Kilda Football Club train prior to the 2009 AFL Grand Final

Grandstands[edit]

Naming rights[edit]

  • Linen House Oval (Sponsorship deal with St Kilda Saints FC LTD 2007–present)[13]

In popular culture[edit]

An abandoned Moorabbin Oval was the site of a police targeting sniper in Season 1 Episode 3 of the Melbourne-based police drama Rush.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Moorabbin Football Club - Info". Australian Football.com. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Ron Carter (25 March 1964). "St. Kilda moving to Moorabbin next year". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 25. 
  3. ^ Scot Palmer (10 October 1963). "Top VFA clubs in trouble". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 62. 
  4. ^ Jack Dunn (25 March 1964). "Saints will move to Moorabbin in '65". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 52. 
  5. ^ Peter Stone (4 April 1964). "V.F.A. suspends Moorabbin for season". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 20. 
  6. ^ Rex Pullen (5 August 1964). "Saints given 75-yr. lease". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 56. 
  7. ^ Patrick Smithers (14 July 1992). "Saints vote for move to Waverley". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 40. 
  8. ^ "AFL Tables – St Kilda All Games – By Team". AFL Tables. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Matt Windley (3 January 2011). "Saints ready for life at Seaford training base". Herald Sun (Melbourne). Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Paul Amy (20 March 2013). "Talks on multi-million dollar upgrade for St Kilda Football Club's spiritual Moorabbin home". Moorabbin Kingston Leader (Moorabbin, VIC). Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Moorabbin Oval to get $8M Injection - Info". TROELS SOMMERVILLE - MOORABBIN KINGSTON LEADER. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Huge crowds flock to training". St Kilda Football Club Official Site. saints.com.au. 2009-09-22. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  13. ^ http://www.saints.com.au/Season2007/News/NewsArticle/tabid/5315/Default.aspx?newsId=39760

External links[edit]