|Simonds Stadium, The Cattery|
|Former names||Skilled Stadium
|Location||La Trobe Terrace, Geelong|
|Owner||City of Greater Geelong|
|Operator||Geelong Football Club|
|Construction cost||Redevelopment: A$28 million|
|Architect||Peddle Thorp (Redevelopment)|
|Record attendance||49,109 (30 August 1952 Geelong v Carlton)|
|Field dimensions||170 x 115 m|
|Geelong Football Club (AFL) (1941–present)|
Kardinia Park (currently known as Simonds Stadium due to naming rights) is an Australian rules football stadium located in South Geelong, Victoria. The stadium is the home ground of the Geelong Football Club. It is nicknamed "The Cattery" by the club's supporters. The capacity of the ground from June 1 is 33,500 after the redevelopment of the southern stand.
The stadium was, until 1982, the only VFL affiliated ground located outside the Melbourne metropolitan area.
Previous names of the stadium as results of sponsorship deals have been Skilled Stadium, Shell Stadium and Baytec Stadium; however it was only called Baytec Stadium for less than two months, and no AFL matches were played there under the name.
On 23 May 2002, Kardinia Park hosted a visit from the Dalai Lama who again visited the stadium in June 2007.
Kardinia Park is also regarded as a 'graveyard' for opposition teams with Geelong, the main tenant, not losing a match played at the venue between 26 August 2007 and 27 August 2011 (non-inclusive). Geelong's Jimmy Bartel credited the home field advantage to the fact that Geelong are one of the few clubs who practice on the same field they play on. This was a significant factor in their winning of the 2007, 2009 and 2011 AFL premierships, only losing three home games in that five-year period (two in 2007 and one in 2011).
Three night matches and one twilight match will be played at Kardinia Park in 2013 with the installation of floodlights. The poor lighting facilities at the ground were highlighted when Geelong's round 20, 2011 match against the Gold Coast was brought forward to 1:40pm, after the basic night training lights used during its previous match (against Melbourne) failed and the contest almost finished in darkness.
In its current layout Kardinia Park consists of the following seating areas: the Reg Hickey Stand, Doug Wade Stand, Premiership Stand, Brownlow Stand, A.R. Jennings Stand, Ron Hovey Room, Ford Stand and the Gary Ablett Terrace, with the latter containing the main standing room section.
An A$28 million redevelopment of the ground was announced in 2003, with A$13.5 million in funding from the State Government, A$4.5 million from the Geelong Football Club, and A$2 million from the AFL. The redeveloped ground was opened on 1 May 2005 during the first home game of the 2005 season which includes a new western entry and membership area, as well as a new five level grandstand with a capacity of approximately 6000 spectators on the eastern side of the stadium. A favourite for the honour of the naming of the new stand was Bob Davis, coach of the Cats' premiership side in 1963.
On 15 June 2005, City of Greater Geelong councillors granted the club its wish to change the name of the new eastern stand to the Reg Hickey Stand, while the southern stand became the Doug Wade Stand. The northern terrace became known as the Gary Ablett Terrace while the western gate was renamed the Bob Davis Gate.
In September 2007, Skilled Stadium received a further total of A$26 million towards the rebuilding of the Ross Drew Stand on the south western side of the ground that was completed by April 2010. Funding for the project included A$14 million from the Federal Government and A$6 million from the Victorian Government. The new stand, known as the Premiership Stand, caters for 3,551 supporters, and has facilities for a further 800 corporate guests on match days. The stand opened in round four of the 2010 AFL season, coinciding with the unveiling of the 2009 premiership flag. A$50,000 was also spent on a new 600-seat temporary stand between the Reg Hickey and Doug Wade stands.
In May 2009 it was revealed that the City of Greater Geelong as stadium owner had approached a number of Melbourne based AFL clubs discussing the financial advantages of playing home games at the ground. The ground could see clubs earning A$30 a patron at Skilled Stadium, compared to A$7 earned at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. The Geelong Football Club had first floated Skilled Stadium as a potential home game venue for Melbourne clubs in 2006.
On 10 April 2011, the Victorian Government announced it will invest A$25 million into the third stage of a major redevelopment of Geelong’s Skilled Stadium. Under the plans, the Doug Wade stand at the southern end of the stadium was pulled down at the end of the 2011 AFL season, with a new stand incorporating a new community wellness and education centre expected to be completed early in the 2013 season. Once finished it will increase the capacity of the stadium by more than 7000 to 33,500. Geelong CEO Brian Cook said stage three of the stadium's redevelopment would cost $34 million in total, with the club still looking for $3 million from both the AFL and the City of Greater Geelong.
Due to Australia's failed 2022 FIFA World Cup bid, guaranteed funding from the Federal Government for the full $130 million redevelopment of the stadium has been rejected and the final stage to redevelop the northern or city end of the stadium remains in limbo.
Unfortunately the estimated price of approximately $30 million was incorrect; in November 2011 it was reported that the actual cost would have been over $42 million. The Geelong Cats CEO Brian Cook announced that the club did not have the money to fund the extra $12 million for the originally planned expansion, so in order to bring the redevelopment cost back down to $30 million, a few minor cuts were made to the design: the capacity was reduced by 1000, a supporter's lounge was removed, and the plan was changed to use cheaper steel instead of concrete. On 26 August 2012 the club announced it would be named the Players Stand, continuing its belief that the names of stands should reflect club values (e.g. the Premiership Stand).
On 13 May 2011, the Geelong Football Club applied for Federal Government funding for A$9 million to install AFL and international cricket standard lighting at the stadium, and $6 million to deliver a sports museum, permanent broadcast screens, improved food and beverage facilities for spectators, an upgrade to existing education centre plans, and a long room-style members' lounge.
On 22 June 2011, it was announced the stadium would have a new name in 2012. After 10 years as naming rights sponsor of Skilled Stadium, Skilled Group decided to relinquish these rights as of 31 October 2011.
On 31 October 2012 the AFL announced the first match of the 2013 AFL season to be played at the stadium will be the Cats versus Gold Coast on 1 June 2013. With a starting time of 7:40 pm, it will be the first match played there at night and in artificial light from the new towers. Prior to the match, the Players Stand will be officially opened.
- Australian Football League
- Victorian Football League
- Geelong Football League finals series
- Victorian Premier Cricket for the Geelong Cricket Club
- KFC Twenty20 Big Bash
- A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup
- W-League (Australia)
The highest crowd to ever attend an event at Kardinia Park was an Australian Rules Football match between the Geelong Cats and the Carlton Blues on the 30 August 1952, 49,109 attended. On the 4 January 2009 the Victoria Bushrangers Twenty20 Cricket team against the Queensland Bulls attracted 12,327. A Soccer match between Melbourne Victory and the Newcastle Jets in 2008 pulled a crowd of 8,500. The first Rugby match at Kardinia Park occurred in 2012, Melbourne Rebels played Waikato Chiefs and attracted a crowd of 8,000.
Top 10 Sports Attendance Records
|1||30 August 1952||Geelong Cats v. Carlton Blues||Australian rules football||VFL||49,107|
|2||16 August 1980||Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Magpies||Australian rules football||VFL||42,278|
|3||20 April 1981||Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Magpies||Australian rules football||VFL||41,395|
|4||3 August 1963||Geelong Cats v. Essendon Bombers||Australian rules football||VFL||40,885|
|5||25 April 1964||Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Magpies||Australian rules football||VFL||40,299|
|6||28 March 1981||Geelong Cats v. Essendon Bombers||Australian rules football||VFL||37,256|
|7||12 July 1952||Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Magpies||Australian rules football||VFL||36,145|
|8||25 April 1970||Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Magpies||Australian rules football||VFL||35,654|
|9||13 June 1988||Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Magpies||Australian rules football||VFL||35,322|
|10||15 April 1967||Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Magpies||Australian rules football||VFL||35,151|
Last updated on the 1st of January 2012
- Highest Team Score:
- Largest Winning Margin:
- Lowest Team Score:
- Most Goals in a Game:
- Most Disposals in a Game:
- Most Games Played:
- Most Goals Kicked:
- Longest Undefeated Streak:
- 29 games – Geelong, 2008–2011
- 22 games – Geelong, 1954–1956
- Length – 170m
- Width – 115m
- Goals run north to south
- "All Power to the Cats on home turf". The Age. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 2001-04-11.
- "KARDINIA PARK UPGRADE TO GIVE GEELONG NEW BOUNCE". Media Release: FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PREMIER. www.dtf.vic.gov.au. 20 June 2003. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
- Dylan Tickell (2 July 2008). "Spring start to Skilled work". Geelong News. p. 2.
- "Geelong Scores a Win with Funding for Skilled Stadium". Press Release – Peter Costello. www.treasurer.gov.au. 3 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
- "Stand taking shape". Richie Pace. www.gfc.com.au. 15 January 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
- "Funding boost for Geelong clubs". The Geelong Advertiser. www.geelongadvertiser.com.au. 22 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
- Peter Farago (9 May 2009). "Geelong puts out welcome mat for other AFL clubs". www.geelongadvertiser.com.au. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
- "Skilled Stadium $25m upgrade green light". Cameron Best. Geelong Advertiser. 10 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
- "Stadium renovations still on track". Alex Oates. Geelong Advertiser. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- "Plan for $15m Skilled Stadium lighting and museum". Daniel Breen. Geelong Advertiser. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
- "Cats seek new name for home". Tom Peeters. www.gfc.com.au. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
- Simonds Stadium new name for Kardinia Park
- Cat's home re-branded
- Kardinia Park (stadium) at Austadiums
- Peter Begg (1990). Geelong – The First 150 Years. Globe Press. ISBN 0-9592863-5-7 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- "Around the Grounds" – Web Documentary – Kardinia Park