From the gleaming green turf of the synthetic oval at the western edge to the blue hue of new netball courts in the east, the Morwell Recreation Reserve has undergone a transcendent transformation.
Throw in the reborn Keegan Street Reserve – upgraded to a level two cricket facility and re-opened in March 2021 – and you have a multisport complex the envy of any across Victoria.
A $9 million renovation – funded by the federal and state governments – has all but been completed at the historic Gippsland site, and Tiger Town is abuzz.
“We’ve been using it as a point of difference. We use it as part of our business case. The facilities are best by far for football and netball going around,” Morwell Football Netball Club President Paul Spagnolo said.
As the finishing touches are applied, the scope of transmutation draws sharply into focus.
Where once weary asphalt welcomed visitors by the Travers Street entrance, now stands a vibrant and enticing court complex, complete with a shared pavilion for cricket and netball.
A tired former caravan park site forsaken by travellers and time alike has found new life as a full-size synthetic field compatible with sports of all varieties in all weather conditions.
Keegan Street Reserve is a breath of fresh air after being re-aligned with new wicket blocks, practice nets and improved drainage.
Lighting upgrades have put excellence back in the spotlight, literally and figuratively, as Morwell hangs its hat on a truly world class precinct.
“We focus in on the Morwell Rec Reserve being the centre of excellence for AFL in the region,” Spagnolo said.
“No doubt it’s helped bring AFL games; we had the Collingwood St Kilda and the Hawthorn St Kilda games (in 2020) and we hope for many more of those to come our way in the future.”
A wet and wild 2020 winter proved the worth of the synthetic addition to the ground – used ‘flat out’ by the club and TAC Cup neighbours Gippsland Power before COVID disrupted their seasons.
“They love it… the surface is great, the lighting is excellent and they really appreciate it – it caps off being the best facility in the area,” Spagnolo said.
“It’s a game changer for us. We would get chased off the main oval (due to wet weather), if we were playing this year it would be quite challenging being so wet. For us now we can change it around and reduce the load.”
As warmer months approach and, hopefully, a pandemic subsides, the Morwell Recreation Reserve is set and ready to enjoy a long stint in the sun.
The $9 million Morwell Recreation Reserve project was co-funded by the federal and state governments.