New nest to assure Hawthorn

Austadiums   |  Thursday 9th March 2006

Hawthorn FC has invested $1 million in its state-of-the-art training and administration facility at Waverley Park.

However president Jeff Kennett says the borrowed money will ensure the club's future in Melbourne for the next 100 years.

The redevelopment of the Sir Kenneth Luke Stand has been achieved with property developer Mirvac and will provide the Hawks with an asset valued at $6-7 million.

"What we're doing is investing in the Hawthorn brand for the future and particularly for this part of Victoria (eastern suburbs)," Kennett said.

"Mirvac, on the other hand, has extended this facility from four to eight bays and spent considerable millions of dollars restoring it and equipping it to our specifications, with our contribution $1 million.

"We are the beneficiary of that. That is the price they had to pay to win the tender to redevelop the whole site."

Kennett said the Hawks were paying $1 a year in rent for the property, which was a wonderful deal.

"It's just an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said.

"We think this is a very prudent investment and borrowing for the future because we are very determined to stay as a Victorian club."

The facility, which incorporates an MCG-dimension oval, includes a 25m heated indoor pool plus four refrigerated ice tanks, gymnasium with 60m running track and a warm-up area with projection and screen facilities to simulate match-day conditions.

Coach Alastair Clarkson said the giant screen was the brainchild of high-performance coach David Rath.

"There's a process where you can assist with players' decision-making if you project life-like game images on to a screen," Clarkson said.

"Then you pause the images and ask the player what decision he would make if he had the ball.

"In our case a player can actually kick the ball into the screen towards the target.

"We can also give our players projections of the goals to practice goal-kicking with noise surrounding them.

"It tries to simulate match conditions as much as possible, which is great to have in an indoor facility."

A moot point among Hawthorn members against the move to Waverley has been the closure of the Hawks social club at Glenferrie.

There will be no social facilities available at the new complex, but Kennett said the club was working on that aspect.

"For instance, at the end of the entrance here is the Mulgrave Club and we're talking to them about establishing a base there," Kennett said.

"Secondly, when playing games, there is an opportunity to do something at the MCG if our members want to mix afterwards.

"And thirdly, we're looking at the option of having a watering hole still in Hawthorn. It may be at Grace Park, it may be at one of the hotels.

"To build a large social club, when there isn't a demand, or to try to retain a social club when there isn't demand, is fool's gold."

Waverley ParkHawthorn FC

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