Expansion Canberra

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Canberra Pear

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Yes this.

Trying to grow the game in 2 regions instead of just concentrating on WS was a misstep in my opinion. As well as it is going.
I agree long-term. Canberra has been sort of a lifeboat for GWS, and showing they're capable of floating on their own will be good for their WS base. And a strong GWS is Canberra's best shot for their own team, too. I'd personally like to see ANZ take a game during the Easter Show against a big Vic side.

But in the short-term, it looks like GWS looks keen to stay. It could be a good transition plan if GWS drops to two games, and we get two Vic teams in to play "home" games, too. But I'd like GWS to remain the "away" team for those Vic games. Canberra has gone back and forth between "home" teams, but after a decade with GWS, there's actual loyalty behind the Giants support now. Canberrans like AFL, but they want a team to barrack for, not just "yay AFL".
 

Johnny Bananas

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I like your thinking. I'd like to see Hawthorn and the 'Roos play home games against the Giants here (like teams did in Cairns against the Gold Coast) on top of the three GWS home games. That way we'd get five GWS games and we'd be getting close to a home team. Maybe St Kilda too as they seemed keen to jump on the Tassie bandwagon.

A lot of the image perception with GWS is their part-time status, but if we could get six "home" games in Canberra, they'd only be two short of the Brumbies.
And you're not concerned that this would lock Canberrans into supporting GWS, hurting their prospects of having their own team as the AFL would think they're already a captive market?
 

Canberra Pear

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And you're not concerned that this would lock Canberrans into supporting GWS, hurting their prospects of having their own team as the AFL would think they're already a captive market?
A little bit. It's a bit of a catch 22, showing that we could support more of a full-time team by simultaneously already showing we're a captive market.

I'm not too concerned about Canberra fans not being able to switch to a new team. I would say the Giants are still a second team for the majority of Canberra AFL fans. I've been a member since 2016, even bussed to Sydney for two finals, but the moment they play Port, they're dead to me. GWS being a relatively new entity was easy for Canberrans to jump on, there's no baggage that would come with a Victorian team (for instance, I would find it very hard to barrack for Hawthorn if they played home games here).

I'd say our biggest hurdle is GWS' perceived reliance on Canberra. They don't want to destabilise the Giants. So we need to walk the fine line between moving more Giants games to Sydney, and not losing our AFL presence in Canberra.

I'm not opposed to having Saints, Hawthorn and GWS all playing two home games each (as Walshawk mentioned) , it'd just be a bit of a logistical effort to coordinate support. They might have to work with the AFL to come up with AFL Canberra memberships to get into all the games.
 

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Johnny Bananas

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A little bit. It's a bit of a catch 22, showing that we could support more of a full-time team by simultaneously already showing we're a captive market.
The only way is through rotating a few teams during the season as you mentioned, and I'm concerned that buying GWS away games isn't truly going to do that. Even if GWS get to the stage where they're able to sell out the Showground every week, I'm not sure they'd want to abandon Canberra given the money they can make out of memberships there, and I'm not sure the AFL would want to make them do so.
 

Canberra Pear

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The only way is through rotating a few teams during the season as you mentioned, and I'm concerned that buying GWS away games isn't truly going to do that. Even if GWS get to the stage where they're able to sell out the Showground every week, I'm not sure they'd want to abandon Canberra given the money they can make out of memberships there, and I'm not sure the AFL would want to make them do so.
That’s a good point. I’d wanted a unified support a single adopted team, but it probably isn’t beneficial in the long run to get our own team. We run the risk of being similar to Tasmania and just being used as a cash cow.

Our benefit over Tasmania is I believe we’re less lucrative. I think the Hawks are getting $1m per game, compared to $400k for GWS. The Hawks are getting $4m a year, and the Giants $2.3m, but half of GWS’ payments are earmarked for player development in the Canberra region.
 

Canberra Pear

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Including Canberra and everything in NSW southwest of Canberra, there were 40 players in the AFL in 2019. And another in Tathra. This all comes under what I would assume to be Canberra's "territory".

A bulk of that is in the Riverina, but Canberra would provide an attractive option for new players within a few hours' drive from their families.

Juniors are going well in WS, so by the time Canberra comes in we should be able to claim the local talent without undermining GWS too much.

2019-NSWACT-players-in-AFL-724x1024.jpg
 

Canberra Pear

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But do them players live in Western Sydney?
I'd say most of those players probably live in the inner west. There'd be some pretty nice places still close to the Westconnex Centre.

But I see Canberra's attraction more as a big country town feel similar to what Geelong promotes. With much of the recruitment from the Riverina-Murray, there'd be plenty of players from small towns who'd prefer Canberra to Sydney. As an Adelaide (a small town of sorts) transplant, I 100% prefer Canberra to Sydney (sorry any Sydneysiders reading).
 

Canberra Pear

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My initial worry with an upgraded Manuka Oval was its lack of transport options, but I think the next stage of the light rail will actually make the stadium pretty accessible compared to now (still not great for parking). From what I can tell, the plan is for Stage 2B to be complete by about 2026, which would be before any Canberra team comes.

The red station would be about a 1km walk. For context, the SCG and Metricon are about a 2km walk from their closest station. The purple station is option 2. It's less likely, but would be incredible if chosen. It's only 550m to Manuka Oval, which is similar to Adelaide Oval and its closest station.

Light-Rail-Gungahlin-to-Woden-d.jpg
 

kranger

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What happened to the Canberra team from the NEAFL, since they didn’t join the VFL?

Did they fold or drop to a lower league?
 

Canberra Pear

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What happened to the Canberra team from the NEAFL, since they didn’t join the VFL?

Did they fold or drop to a lower league?
The AFL was keen for a composite team representing Canberra rather than a local team.

In 2014, the AFL proposed Queanbeyan, Belco, Ainslie and Eastlake each pay $150k for a single Canberra side in the NEAFL before Queanbeyan and Belco dropped out. Ainslie was the stronger team and put forward a proposal to be the sole Canberra team, but was rejected, so withdrew, leaving the Eastlake Demons to solely represent the city.

With the Demons out of the NEAFL/VFL, I'm hopeful of a composite team in the future.
 

Walshawk

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Including Canberra and everything in NSW southwest of Canberra, there were 40 players in the AFL in 2019. And another in Tathra. This all comes under what I would assume to be Canberra's "territory".

A bulk of that is in the Riverina, but Canberra would provide an attractive option for new players within a few hours' drive from their families.

Juniors are going well in WS, so by the time Canberra comes in we should be able to claim the local talent without undermining GWS too much.

View attachment 1070255
Wow. 37 of those players are from the Riverina, Canberra or country NSW. Reckon Canberra would be a winner if they can get a 25k/30k stadium near the CBD.
 

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almuz

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Thinking about the weather of the last week, wonder if an indoor stadium would be a go’er?

Or failing that the team/Canberra would really need to embrace the yes-its-1-degree-but-we-are-used-it-and-you’re-not mantra.
 
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Canberra Pear

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Wow. 37 of those players are from the Riverina, Canberra or country NSW. Reckon Canberra would be a winner if they can get a 25k/30k stadium near the CBD.
You'd think those numbers would grow with a permanent team, too. I think it's already accelerated with the GWS Academy. Marist has had five AFL recruits since 1996, but three of them of been in the past five years.

If we could get on board the plans for the CBD stadium, it would be ideal. That way we would benefit from any plans to make it undercover and any surrounding infrastructure work, too. The tram extension will make Manuka Oval more accessible, but it still wouldn't be as good as the CBD option.
 

Canberra Pear

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Thinking about the weather of the last week, wonder if an indoor stadium would be a go’er?

Or failing that the team/Canberra would really need to embrace the yes-its-1-degree-but-we-are-used-it-and-you’re-not mantra.
We did get a decent crowd in the snow a few years back! Canberra sports fans are already pretty used to the cold. Just means you get to sell more winter merch!

That being said, I wouldn't mind some creative fixturing to balance the games to the warmer months. Or at least make the winter games in the day.

Canberra in the winter would also make a good addition to the Big Freeze at the G, extend it over the weekend. We could be the Lil Freeze, but much colder.
 

Canberra Pear

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Who's going to pay for it?
There have been plans slowly progressing for a (possibly covered) CBD stadium for the past decade or so. It's to replace the rectangular stadium at Bruce. At the moment it looks like plans are just for a rectangular replacement, but a multi-use stadium was discussed earlier on.

Canberra's always mentioned for potential BBL expansion, too, so a bit of diplomacy from the AFL and cricket could make it a mini Docklands. An oval configuration was already in early conversations to cater for part-time teams, so it would make sense for the government to include oval sports if the city was able to sure up its own AFL/W and W/BBL franchises.

Edit: Only noticed Walshawk's response as I replied
 

Aussie in exile

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If the ACT government can get an AFL team, plus a couple of BBLs, they will built it for sure.
There have been plans slowly progressing for a (possibly covered) CBD stadium for the past decade or so. It's to replace the rectangular stadium at Bruce. At the moment it looks like plans are just for a rectangular replacement, but a multi-use stadium was discussed earlier on.

Canberra's always mentioned for potential BBL expansion, too, so a bit of diplomacy from the AFL and cricket could make it a mini Docklands. An oval configuration was already in early conversations to cater for part-time teams, so it would make sense for the government to include oval sports if the city was able to sure up its own AFL/W and W/BBL franchises.

Edit: Only noticed Walshawk's response as I replied
I don't think there is the money there at the moment, but i could be wrong.
I also think that a team playing out of Canberra will hit GWS hard as i can't see them getting a financial deal anywhere near what they get now anywhere else, but again i say i could be wrong.
 

Canberra Pear

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I don't think there is the money there at the moment, but i could be wrong.
I also think that a team playing out of Canberra will hit GWS hard as i can't see them getting a financial deal anywhere near what they get now anywhere else, but again i say i could be wrong.
I wouldn't expect Canberra's own team could enter before the early 2030s.

That will give GWS a decade to plan their exit. GWS will be 20 by then and should be playing more than eight games a year at their primary home ground. If 11 home games is still too much they can play a game or two in Newcastle.

A report says the city stadium couldn't be ready before 2027, for which construction would need to start in 2024. But Chief Minister Andrew Barr has said the stadium is part of the government's longer-term infrastructure goals, not likely to become a priority until after 2025. Barr is actually quite an AFL fan (possibly why GWS gets such a good deal), so I wouldn't be surprised (perhaps optimistically) if he's delaying the stadium decision until the AFL/BBL's in a position to push for an oval configuration.
 

Badger17

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As a person born and raised in Canberra this thread is very interesting, mainly because most of the people in here whom are pushing for a Canberran team the hardest obviously live here, but aren't from Canberra if you know what I mean, and that's leading them to push some interesting ideas that won't or simply can't work.

For a start the Civic Pool site (where the new stadium will hopefully eventually be built) can only just squeeze in a 20k rectangular stadium. In other words if the site can only just fit a 20k rectangular stadium then an oval stadium on that site would have to be tiny, probably sub-15k, which isn't big enough for an AFL team.
Add to that problem the facts that without knocking down buildings there isn't another realistic site in Civic large enough to build a stadium on, and that there's also no way in hell that any of the rectangular sports would ever agree to an oval, as anybody that is a fan of the rectangular codes knows watching rectangular sports on an oval is a terrible experience, and the prospects of a new oval stadium being built in Civic in the foreseeable future becomes extremely unlikely.

This talk of playing games and building fanbases in Albury and/or Wagga is way off the mark as well. Firstly the only reason the team would consider it is if they were being paid a significant amount to do it (like the Raiders playing in Wagga as quid pro quo for the NSW gov helping them fund their COE in Braddon), and realistically the councils in Wagga and Albury don't have the money to do that for an extended period on their own, and I doubt that the NSW government would be too interested in funding it themselves.
So just on that level it seems unrealistic, but once you add in the fact that outside of a small ill-defined area that can loosely be called the 'Capital Region', neither of which Wagga or Albury are in BTW, people in country NSW generally don't have a high opinion of Canberra and Canberrans, and you have a recipe for disaster in trying to appeal to those markets instead of focusing your efforts on Canberra and direct surrounds instead. Ask the Brumbies how the move from the ACT Brumbies to Brumbies Rugby in 05 has effected their fan base over the past 15 years, I'll give you a hint, it hasn't resulted in the treasure trove they thought it would.

I could go on but this post is already very big, and I don't want people to mistake this post as me being against a Canberran AFL team, because I'm not, in fact I think they could be as big as the Raiders, if not bigger, from day one. I'm just giving my two cents and trying to dissuade some bad ideas.
 

Canberra Pear

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As a person born and raised in Canberra this thread is very interesting, mainly because most of the people in here whom are pushing for a Canberran team the hardest obviously live here, but aren't from Canberra if you know what I mean, and that's leading them to push some interesting ideas that won't or simply can't work.

For a start the Civic Pool site (where the new stadium will hopefully eventually be built) can only just squeeze in a 20k rectangular stadium. In other words if the site can only just fit a 20k rectangular stadium then an oval stadium on that site would have to be tiny, probably sub-15k, which isn't big enough for an AFL team.
Add to that problem the facts that without knocking down buildings there isn't another realistic site in Civic large enough to build a stadium on, and that there's also no way in hell that any of the rectangular sports would ever agree to an oval, as anybody that is a fan of the rectangular codes knows watching rectangular sports on an oval is a terrible experience, and the prospects of a new oval stadium being built in Civic in the foreseeable future becomes extremely unlikely.
Some good points. And you're correct (at least about me), an Adelaide transplant to Canberra.

There's talk about Parkes Way being lowered to better connect the city and lake, which would allow for some flexibility for the stadium to expand southwards, but I still think it's still unlikely any Civic stadium would be an oval (as much as I'd prefer this option). Not logistically impossible, but very expensive.

If Canberra went for the EPIC option for the new stadium, I'd say there's a much greater chance of oval sports being included. EPIC has much more space for a larger stadium. It would also be cheaper, so more money remaining for an oval configuration. It's on the light rail, but is quite a distance from the south (for Canberra standards). Would also lack a lot surrounding atmosphere.

I think Manuka Oval could still be a good option if it's upgraded. I know the last redevelopment was quashed by locals, but I think that was more around the circumstances rather than the upgrade itself as the proposal would've benefited the developer more than the community. The light rail extension will get a stop within 1km (possibly closer depending on the route chosen) and make the stadium a lot more accessible than it currently is.

This talk of playing games and building fanbases in Albury and/or Wagga is way off the mark as well. Firstly the only reason the team would consider it is if they were being paid a significant amount to do it (like the Raiders playing in Wagga as quid pro quo for the NSW gov helping them fund their COE in Braddon), and realistically the councils in Wagga and Albury don't have the money to do that for an extended period on their own, and I doubt that the NSW government would be too interested in funding it themselves.
So just on that level it seems unrealistic, but once you add in the fact that outside of a small ill-defined area that can loosely be called the 'Capital Region', neither of which Wagga or Albury are in BTW, people in country NSW generally don't have a high opinion of Canberra and Canberrans, and you have a recipe for disaster in trying to appeal to those markets instead of focusing your efforts on Canberra and direct surrounds instead.
Interesting point about Canberra's perception in the region. I definitely wouldn't be opposed to Canberra hosting 11 home games, but I like the idea of giving back to the areas where many of the players would come from.

I think the Bulldogs are a good example to follow. They're selling their Bulldogs brand to Ballarat, not basing their brand around Ballarat. The Dogs are getting more than $600k for a game, so it's not unreasonable to think Canberra could get $800k for two games across Albury and Wagga.

I know Albury and Wagga might not have any affinity for Canberra, but the excitement of having a footy game would be enough until it grew its base. GWS got 6.5k to Wagga for just a preseason match. There'd be a lot of support for Canberra's Riverina players, too. Those areas would be in a Canberra academy area so eventually all the kids would grow up aiming to play for Canberra and you'd win over fans as the Giants have in Canberra (the orange has grown a lot in a decade).

Ask the Brumbies how the move from the ACT Brumbies to Brumbies Rugby in 05 has effected their fan base over the past 15 years, I'll give you a hint, it hasn't resulted in the treasure trove they thought it would.
I honestly hadn't even noticed the Brumbies' rebrand until you'd said it then. I swore my whole time in Canberra I'd heard "ACT Brumbies", but not sure if that's them misspeaking or me mishearing. Either way, not a good rebrand.
 

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Canberra will never build a roofed oval stadium. There is neither the appetite nor the business case for it to happen. That doesn't even consider logistics of where you'd put the thing. The ACT Government has pretty clearly said that Manuka is for oval sports (cricket/footy). They are progressively spending money to upgrade that (ie, they are about to do a concept/feasibility on how to incorporate an eastern stand into the mix while staying within the heritage envelope) - but a slightly upgraded capacity Manuka is the absolute best that will ever exist.

The talk about the covered/indoor stadium for Civic is also off the mark. Because of the location selected at best it will be a flawed design, at worst a disaster. ACT Government might be keen as fu** to build it (they aren't, the business case doesn't stack up, hence the walking back of it as a priority in the last two years) but anyone who has done any planning stuff in Canberra would know, the planning approval doesn't fall to ACT Government for that site (where they could just ram it through with a Minister's call-in) - it is entirely up to the NCA to approve it. It's sitting adjacent a major axis and would be twice the regulated height limit (in order to fit the thing on the site). Unlike Manuka this one isn't a 'never' but an 'unlikely this decade' proposal.

Any AFL team in Canberra would need to be comfortable with a 15-20k max crowd capacity (and no corporate facilities). Makes it a bit of a tougher pill to swallow.
 

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