Punt Road Oval
|Punt Road Oval, ME Bank Centre|
|Former names||Richmond Cricket Ground|
|Location||Punt Rd, Richmond, Victoria|
|Owner||City of Melbourne|
|Operator||Richmond Football Club|
|Richmond Football Club (admin + training) (AFL)
Richmond VFL team
Punt Road Oval is historically notable as a former venue of the Victorian Football League (now Australian Football League) with 544 VFL/AFL premiership matches played there between 1908 and 1964 and as the headquarters and former home ground of the Richmond Football Club.
In October 1855 an application was made for the Richmond Cricket Club to play matches on the Richmond paddock next to the site occupied by the Melbourne Cricket Club. The first documented cricket match on the oval was played on 27 December 1856.
It was used as the home ground by the Richmond Football Club in the Victorian Football Association (VFA) from 1885 to 1907 then in the Victorian Football League (VFL) from 1908 to 1964. It was also used by the Melbourne Football Club during and immediately after World War II, when the MCG became a military base. Not until late 1946 were Melbourne able to play the MCG again. Owing to the arrangement of the draw for 1942, South Melbourne played one home game there against Hawthorn when Richmond had the bye.
After the 1964 season, the capacity of the venue was to be reduced to only 22,000, after much of the outer was to be lost to the widening by 50ft of Punt Road, a notorious traffic bottleneck. Under the stewardship of President Ray Dunn, Richmond negotiated to move its home games to the Melbourne Cricket Ground starting from 1965. The last senior VFL game was played at the venue on 22 August 1964, between Richmond and Hawthorn. The club retained the venue as its training and administrative base, despite moving its home games.
In November 1999 it hosted a Mercantile Mutual Cup match between Victoria and Canberra.
Ground records - VFL
- Most Goals (Individual) in a Match: 14 by Doug Strang (Richmond vs North Melbourne Round 2, 1931)
- Highest Score: Richmond 30.19 (199) (vs North Melbourne Round 2, 1931)
- Lowest Score: St Kilda 1.10 (16) (vs Richmond 1910)
- Greatest Winning Margin: 168 points (Richmond vs North Melbourne Round 2, 1931)
- Drawn Matches: 6
- Record attendance: 46,000 (Richmond vs Carlton, 1949)
The ground is still used for training by the Richmond Football Club and it remains the club's administrative headquarters. A statue of Tigers legend Jack Dyer is outside the ground. A $20 million redevelopment was completed in 2011. The redeveloped sports facilities at Punt Road Oval accommodate a range of business and community sports organisations, including Klim Swim, the VRI Fencing Club and the Indigenous Youth Education Centre known as the Korin Gamaji Institute.
The venue remained the home ground for the Richmond Cricket Club from 1856 to the end of the 2010/11 season; in 2011/12, the club moved to Central Reserve, Glen Waverley. The Richmond Cricket Club was the last premier cricket team in Victoria to remain a co-tenant with an AFL club in its traditional home venue.
The naming rights for the ground were then sold to ME Bank and the ground is now known as Punt Road Oval at the ME Bank Centre.
In 2014, the new Richmond VFL team will play home games at the venue.
- "New den for the Tigers". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). 4 November 1964. p. 64.