Homeless Hogs in ugly situation

Photo: Melissa Adams.
Photo: Melissa Adams.

The newly-minted Googong Hogs have spent more than three years without a home to call their own. Originally based just outside of Queanbeyan at HMAS Harman, security issues and the declining presence of defence personnel in the squad eventually forced the club to look elsewhere for a home ground.

The football club found that home and a new name in Googong, but their home ground is set to remain unused throughout winter if council approves the use of a synthetic cover for the cricket pitch in the centre of Rockley Oval.

According to AFL Canberra, the cover would render all players on the field as uninsurable due to the unsanctioned nature, but removing the cricket pitch will mean Queanbeyan cricket loses another ground in the region.

Googong Hogs vice president Brad Toone said the club was excited to have a home ground again. He believes a mutually beneficial solution will be found.

"We're pretty confident that it will be okay now and what we have done to mitigate the risk there is that we've moved all of our home games," Toone said.

"Our first game isn't until May 21 and that's round eight so we have effectively given ourselves a window at the start of the season to get this fixed and worst case scenario, we will end up playing out in Canberra somewhere."

Queanbeyan junior cricket coordinator Michael Frost said he hoped a mutual agreement would be found for all parties involved, citing the oval's exemplary facilities.

"[Rockley Oval] is the best junior cricket oval in Australia. It is just a beautiful place to play cricket, to watch cricket and it's a lovely atmosphere so having a cover on it will be perfect for everyone," he said.

"If we lose that oval for junior cricket it would be a travesty, it would be such a shame because we could have a lot of years of playing there and it's going to be a lovely place to bring kids through.

"I really hope they can come up with a sensible approach to ensure that both AFL and cricket can share that oval at a junior level because a turf wicket will solve that problem for senior cricket but it won't solve it for juniors."

Queanbeyan City councillor Kenrick Winchester said they were endeavouring to come to a favourable solution for all involved, and AFL Canberra had again been approached for approval.

"It is not ideal and it is an ugly situation for cricket and AFL," Cr Winchester said.

"The next oval to go online in Googong will have a synthetic pitch but that is two to three years away... but if the current pitch stays there won't be any AFL because they won't allocate games there."

A decision is set to be made on Wednesday, March 25 at council.

This story Homeless Hogs in ugly situation first appeared on The Queanbeyan Age.


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