Punt Road Oval
|Punt Road Oval|
|Former names||Richmond Cricket Ground|
ME Bank Centre
|Location||Punt Rd, East Melbourne, Victoria|
|Owner||City of Melbourne|
|Operator||Richmond Football Club|
|Richmond Football Club (admin + training) (VFL/AFL) 1885 – present|
Richmond Reserves (VFL) 2014 – present
Richmond Cricket Club 1856 – 2011
Melbourne Football Club 1942 – 1946, 1956
Punt Road Oval, also known by naming rights sponsorship as the Swinburne Centre, is an Australian rules football ground and former cricket oval located in Yarra Park, East Melbourne, Victoria situated only a few hundred metres to the east of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Punt Road Oval was a former venue for 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. In round 4 of the 1956 season, Melbourne played a one off home game at Punt Road against Fitzroy, this time due to renovations at the MCG in preparation for the 1956 Summer Olympics. 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 50 ft 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, where Richmond was beaten by 31 points. 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: 219 (Richmond 33.21 (219) def. North Ballarat 4.7 (31), Round 1 2017)
- Lowest Score: 16 (Richmond 8.6 (54) def. St Kilda 1.10 (16), Round 15 1910)
- Greatest Winning Margin: 188 points (Richmond 33.21 (219) def. North Ballarat 4.7 (31), Round 1 2017)
- Drawn Matches: 6
- Record attendance: 46,000 (Richmond vs Carlton, Round 9 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.
- "Punt Road Oval". austadiums.com. Austadiums. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
- "New den for the Tigers". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 4 November 1964. p. 64.
- Warner, Michael (26 May 2017). "Punt Rd Oval to be renamed Swinburne Centre as Richmond joins forces with uni". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- Seven News Melbourne – September 30, 2017 YouTube (originally broadcast by Seven Network)
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