It might pay to get a little switched on

Wednesday, March19
Geelong Advertiser _ Fiona Welsh

LIGHTEN up everyone.

The debate about lights at Skilled Stadium has reached extraordinary levels.

Why shouldn't the second largest city in Victoria, and Australia's oldest football club, have a stadium that can be lit up at night?

Cairns certainly does, and even Lavington - as we found out last Friday night - has a suitably floodlit arena which can host an AFL-approved practice game.

The Geelong Football Club has put together a sensible redevelopment package, which at $26 million has received approval at state and local level. The visionary plan, however, perhaps does not go far enough.

The redevelopment hopes to secure the long-term future of the Cats in Geelong with claims the AFL regards the ground, in its present state, as becoming obsolete.

The City of Greater Geelong has said games will not be played at Skilled Stadium in five years if it is not upgraded.

This is not just about the AFL though.

Football Geelong is fully supportive of lights being installed at Skilled Stadium to host local matches. It would love to have a pre-season night competition to include teams from Ballarat, Hampden and metropdholitan areas.

What a boon that would be for sports fans in Geelong.

One thing is for sure, no one is putting their hand up to offer the extra cash, but perhaps it's time the Federal Government looked a little more southerly than Newcastle and provided some sporting funds.

National Rugby League club Newcastle enjoys its biggest home crowds at night games, which has only increased the town's pride in its side.

In the harsh reality of today's AFL environment, the Cats also need all the support they can get and the chance to fill Skilled Stadium is too much to pass up.

The least we can do, as a community, is look at the proposal on its merits and exhaust all avenues.

It doesn't help anyone to simply be reactionary.