Sharks set for new ground

TIM EDMUNDS and JORDAN GERRANS
Sharks treasurer and reserves coach Bob Marks and vice-president Geoff Oldfield are excited the club will have their own ground as part of the Centennial Park Sporting Precinct redevelopment.

Albany’s newest football club is set to be the big winner of a redesign of the Centennial Park Sporting Precinct, with an additional ground to be incorporated into the final design of the $42 million project.

The Albany Advertiser can reveal the Albany Sharks will be included in the eastern precinct “AFL Heartland”, with an extra training oval to be added and plans for the club to share the oval with Royals Football Club.

The removal of the planned commercial precinct on the corner of Cockburn Road and Lockyer Avenue in the original concept designs paved the way for the extra oval.

As a result, each of Albany’s four football clubs will have its own home ground, with Railways set to stay across the road at their Tigerland base and North Albany at Collingwood Park.

The Sharks are in a co-tenancy arrangement with North Albany at Collingwood Park, having entered the competition in 2009.

Sharks vice-president Geoff Oldfield said the club was excited about the development and the move would assure their future.

“It is a big thing for younger players that we can socialise in our own club rooms,” he said.

“This turns us into a fully fledged club and puts us on a level playing field with the other GSFL clubs.

“This new ground will make us more attractive to new players coming to town.”

North Albany president Iian Woods welcomed the development, saying it would reduce the workload on Collingwood Park.

“We are comfortable with the overall concept with what they are trying to achieve,” he said.

“This will help reduce costs and take some workload off Collingwood Park.”

City of Albany community services executive director Cameron Woods said the four clubs had worked with City staff and the WA Football Commission to come up with an outcome to benefit the Albany football community.

Mr Woods said it was a great result and positive step for the Centennial Park project and football.

“The four clubs have selflessly worked together for the betterment of Albany football,” he said.

Perth-based Gresley Abas Architects, which was awarded the design tender for the $42 million precinct last month, is expected to take nine months to complete the final designs for council approval.

At the moment, only $26 million has been secured for the project.