Is it time for a major upgrade at Manuka Oval?

Lachlan Roberts 23 September 2019 22
GWS Giants

When GWS are in Canberra, the Manuka precinct turns orange as supporters mill in anticipation. File Photo

A packed Manuka Oval has become the norm when the GWS Giants descend on the nation’s capital.

During the Giants’ three AFL clashes at Manuka Oval during the 2018 season, crowds of 13,249 watched their clash against the Adelaide Crows on a winter Saturday night, while 11,356 saw Giants crush the Fremantle Dockers, and 10,454 saw an entertaining clash between the home side and the Western Bulldogs.

With a seating capacity of 13,550, the venue remains the premier site for cricket and AFL events in Canberra.

The Giants are drawing towards the end of a 10-year, $23 million deal with the ACT Government. Discussions about extending the deal beyond 2021 have taken place and Giants chief Dave Matthews expects the deal to be renewed. Given the excellent crowds and growing number of kids playing AFL in Canberra, a new deal seems likely.

Speaking at the Giants’ grand final lunch in Canberra on Tuesday (25 September), Matthews said the AFL fans that flock to their games deserved better facilities. Long lines at the female toilets, at the gates and food trucks outside the stands are some of the issues that need to be addressed with the GWS Giants keen to see a major upgrade to the oval.

Two years ago, the Giants tabled a controversial bid to upgrade the Manuka Oval facilities and the surrounding precinct, which would have included an investment of around $80 million, but the Government shied away from the proposal after community concerns about overdevelopment.

Former ACT AFL General Manager Steve Dobbie echoed Matthew’s calls when he spoke on 2CC on Wednesday morning (26 September), calling for something to help improve the game day experience for fans.

“It is an interesting one with Manuka because when you get inside the ground and start watching the game it is a brilliant experience because you are so close to the game but then you go behind the grandstands to go to the loo or to grab a hotdog and things become very different,” Dobbie said.

“I think it is time to put all options on the table and weigh up the costs and see what can be done.”

With an international summer of cricket quickly approaching and Manuka Oval set to host three international matches scheduled across all three formats of the game, fans better be ready for long queues.

With more and more sport coming to Manuka Oval, what upgrades do you want to see to the facilities? Let us know your thoughts below.

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22 Responses to Is it time for a major upgrade at Manuka Oval?
Birchy Birchy Birchy Birchy 12:43 am 01 Oct 18

I’d be happy with some Raiders games here

John Austen John Austen 10:06 pm 30 Sep 18

Yes, the prices charged don’t match the poor quality of the facilities. If they want to continue to charge the prices they do the facilities need to be much better.

Trevor Watson Trevor Watson 8:02 pm 30 Sep 18

I think we should look at refurbishment of our yet to be used tram shed first...

Aija Seittenranta Aija Seittenranta 11:12 pm 29 Sep 18

“Major upgrade” = build more units and encroach on the pool. No thanks.

Garry Stevens Garry Stevens 7:34 pm 29 Sep 18

They’d prefer to build train sets

bikhet bikhet 7:00 pm 29 Sep 18

Redevelop Phillip Oval and make it self-financing by selling the entirety of Manuka Oval and its surrounds for development as apartments. The developers will love it. The Government will love it. The only people who won’t love it are the NIMBYs.

Damn. I’m not sure if I’m being serious or sarcastic.

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 6:25 pm 29 Sep 18

You can upgrade the oval without needing to change the character of the surrounding suburb. You don’t need to build a multi-storey block of units in order to have a smaller line at the loo.

Adam Gallagher Adam Gallagher 6:21 pm 29 Sep 18

Peter sounds about right

David David David David 5:44 pm 29 Sep 18

Get rid of it. Go to Woden... Heaps of parking, better oval, better public transport, better amenity all round. Invest in Phillip Oval, forget the outdated outmoded Manuka oval.

Ona Marto Ona Marto 5:40 pm 29 Sep 18

Definitely due for an upgrade, you just have to go to spotless stadium to see how much the facilities at Manuka are lacking.

Mike Long Mike Long 4:18 pm 29 Sep 18

You won't attract major sporting events if you don't have decent facilities Manuka oval was past it's use by date 20 years ago

Scott Watson Scott Watson 3:55 pm 29 Sep 18

Let’s face it - Manuka Oval is actually in a really inconvenient location for mass attendance sporting events. It would be better to upgrade Phillip Oval. It’s right next to a planned light rail line and major bus interchange, far more centrally located and right next to a major shopping centre. Plus it has far better road access. Upgrading Manuka makes no sense as it doesn’t have the capability to handle the bigger logistical issues that would come with a bigger crowd.

    Graham Wilson Graham Wilson 4:54 pm 29 Sep 18

    Commonsense......I’m sure the ACT Government would love to turn that prime real estate at Manuka into Units - which in turn would go along way towards paying for the Upgrades at Phillip.

Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 3:55 pm 29 Sep 18

Upgrade of Manuka is way overdue!! A gorgeous venue that needs an overhaul

Queanbeyanite Queanbeyanite 3:38 pm 29 Sep 18

No, pay off the $4 billion tram first, flog the site off for a big apartment complex, could be paid off early in 2060. You could then build a brand new stadium near the Mint beside one of the tram stops.

    JC JC 8:31 am 30 Sep 18

    $4b now? That’s about 6 times the actual build figure.

    Queanbeyanite Queanbeyanite 7:36 pm 04 Oct 18

    I read the existing one is now $1.6 Billion, originally $350 million, reports I’ve read have the Woden bit starting at $2 billion. All of which the local council should have tested with a dozen luxury bendy busses for $20 million. Keep in mind this is 2 sixths of the complete network. I’ve even heard of a line back to Queanbeyan.

Justin Watson Justin Watson 3:06 pm 29 Sep 18

Yes, it needs an upgrade, but when someone is willing to pay for it, people complain and when the government offers to pay for it people will complain. Then they wonder why governments avoid public consultation because people whinge and complain about any change to anything. We also need a new rectangular stadium that at the very least shields people from the weather, like the Melbourne and GC stadiums. Doesn't need to be bigger than 30,000, same for Manuka, seating for 20-30,000 is all thats needed.

    Andrea Kerr Andrea Kerr 3:51 pm 29 Sep 18

    Yes exactly they should have worked with the unsolicited bid they had which would have cost the government nothing.

Paul Young Paul Young 2:37 pm 29 Sep 18

If we're going to have our own bbl team we'll need a venue that can compete.

Kriso Hadskini Kriso Hadskini 2:13 pm 29 Sep 18

Not really. It is just entertainment at the end of the day.

    David Jones David Jones 2:33 pm 29 Sep 18

    No, big sporting events drive tourism and boost the economy.

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