Richmond have entered the debate over Melbourne’s AFL venues, dusting off a proposal to upgrade their Punt Rd home.
Three years ago, the league and the Tigers started looking at redeveloping the ground so it could become the city’s third venue for AFL matches alongside the MCG and Etihad Stadium.
Richmond have made the idea public in the wake of Collingwood president Eddie McGuire’s ambition to have a new venue built near the MCG and demolish Etihad Stadium.
Tigers chief executive Brendon Gale said one of the strengths of their proposal is that Etihad Stadium would remain.
“There are aspects of Eddie’s (proposal) that are good, but the strength of ours is that we have an existing venue … (and) the proximity of Richmond station,” Gale said.
“It’s a lower-capacity, lower-cost venue that gives the ability to the AFL to flexibly schedule.”
The Punt Rd idea is on a smaller scale compared to McGuire’s Victoria Stadium project.
Earlier on Friday, the Collingwood president said comparing his idea with the Punt Rd concept was like comparing apples to elephants.
But Gale said he and McGuire shared the same opinion on potential state government funding for any future stadium work in Melbourne.
“I’m in furious agreement with Eddie … we’re entitled to ask how much government is investing in our code, vis a vis other states,” he said.
Gale added a 30-40,000 seat Punt Rd venue would give the AFL fixturing flexibility and help Melbourne clubs financially.
“It’s about a solution for some clubs who have very, very poor stadium deals that impact their bottom lines,” he said.
“These stadium deals are unfair.
“It’s an idea we kicked around and we shelved a couple of years ago.
“In the context of the recent discussion, it’s worth revisiting.”
The Punt Rd proposal would also involve the redevelopment of neighbouring Richmond rail station.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan welcomes the debate and said the Punt Rd idea has merit.
He adds his personal view is that two Melbourne AFL venues are enough.
“They (Richmond) are an excellent candidate if you went down the path of having a third venue, a boutique venue,” he said.
“It’s a great debate to be having, a great discussion.”
Punt Rd last hosted an official AFL match in 1964.