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Kardinia Park (stadium)

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Kardinia Park (stadium)

Kardinia Park, Geelong
Simonds Stadium, The Cattery
Former names Skilled Stadium
Shell Stadium
Baytec Stadium
Location South Geelong, Victoria
Owner City of Greater Geelong
Operator City of Greater Geelong/Geelong Football Club
Capacity 34,074[1][2]
Record attendance 49,109 (30 August 1952 Geelong v Carlton)
Field size 170 x 115 m
Surface Grass
Construction cost Redevelopment: A$28 million
Architect Peddle Thorp (Redevelopment)
Geelong Football Club (AFL) (1941–present)

Kardinia Park (also currently known as Simonds Stadium due to naming rights) is a sporting and entertainment venue located within Kardinia Park, South Geelong, Victoria. The stadium, which is owned and operated by the City of Greater Geelong, is the home ground of the Geelong Football Club. The capacity of the ground is 34,074 after the redevelopment of the southern stand.


  • Australian Rules Football 1
    • Early Years 1.1
    • Recent History 1.2
  • Other Uses 2
  • Redevelopments 3
  • Hosted events 4
  • Crowds 5
  • Attendance records 6
  • Sources 7
  • VFL/AFL Records 8
  • Dimensions 9
  • Notes 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

Australian Rules Football

Early Years

Football has been played on Kardinia Park since the 19th century,[3] and prior to the 1940s, Kardinia Park was the secondary football venue in the city of Geelong; Corio Oval was the primary venue, and the Geelong Football Club played its Victorian Football League games at that venue until 1940. Kardinia Park served as the home ground for the Geelong (A.) Football Club in the Victorian Football Association from 1922[4] until 1925, before that club moved to the Western Oval in Geelong West;[5] local and district football was played regularly on the ground.

The Geelong Football Club began playing its home games at Kardinia Park in 1941 after Corio Oval was commandeered by the military during World War II, and it became its permanent home venue thereafter.

Recent History

On 23 May 2002, Kardinia Park hosted a visit from the Dalai Lama, who again visited the stadium in June 2007.

Kardinia Park is regarded as a proverbial graveyard for teams playing against Geelong, the main tenant; having an especially good record at the ground in recent years especially. Geelong did not lose a single match played at the venue between 26 August 2007 and 27 August 2011. Geelong's Jimmy Bartel credited the home field advantage to the fact that Geelong is one of the few clubs which practices on the same field that it plays on.[6]

On 22 June 2011, it was announced the stadium would have a new name in 2012. After 10 years as naming rights sponsor of Skilled Stadium, Skilled Group decided to relinquish these rights as of 31 October 2011.[7] Previous names of the stadium as results of sponsorship deals have been Skilled Stadium, Shell Stadium and Baytec Stadium; however it was only called Baytec Stadium for less than two months, and only 1 pre-season match was played there under the name. The stadium is nicknamed "The Cattery" by the club's supporters.

Floodlights were installed prior to the 2013 season, and the venue staged its first night match during the season.

In its current layout Kardinia Park consists of the following seating areas: the Reg Hickey Stand, Players Stand, Premiership Stand, Brownlow Stand, A.R. Jennings Stand, Ron Hovey Room, Ford Stand/Fred Flanagan Room and the Gary Ablett Terrace, with the latter containing the main standing room section.

Other Uses

During the late 1920s and early 1930s when Motorcycle speedway was becoming popular throughout Australia, Kardinia Park was home to a dirt track speedway known as the Geelong Velodrome. The Velodrome hosted the inaugural Victorian Solo Speedway Championship in 1926/27 and followed up with the second championship held in 1927/28. Both championships were won by Billy Pilgrim.

The ground will play host to its first ever A-League premiership match in early 2015 when Melbourne Victory FC hosts Perth Glory FC in Round 14 of the 2014-15 A-League season.[8]


An A$28 million redevelopment of the ground was announced in 2003, with A$13.5 million in funding from the State Government, A$4.5 million from the Geelong Football Club, and A$2 million from the AFL.[9] The redeveloped ground was opened on 1 May 2005 during the first home game of the 2005 season which includes a new western entry and membership area, as well as a new five level grandstand with a capacity of approximately 6000 spectators on the eastern side of the stadium. A favourite for the honour of the naming of the new stand was Bob Davis, coach of the Cats' premiership side in 1963.

On 15 June 2005, City of Greater Geelong councillors granted the club its wish to change the name of the new eastern stand to the Reg Hickey Stand, while the southern stand became the Doug Wade Stand. The northern terrace became known as the Gary Ablett Terrace while the western gate was renamed the Bob Davis Gate.

In September 2007, Skilled Stadium received a further total of A$26 million towards the rebuilding of the Ross Drew Stand on the south western side of the ground that was completed by April 2010.[10] Funding for the project included A$14 million from the Federal Government and A$6 million from the Victorian Government.[11] The new stand, known as the Premiership Stand, caters for 3,551 supporters, and has facilities for a further 800 corporate guests on match days. The stand opened in round four of the 2010 AFL season, coinciding with the unveiling of the 2009 premiership flag.[12] A$50,000 was also spent on a new 600-seat temporary stand between the Reg Hickey and Doug Wade stands.[13]

In May 2009 it was revealed that the City of Greater Geelong as stadium owner had approached a number of Melbourne-based AFL clubs discussing the financial advantages of playing home games at the ground. The ground could see clubs earning A$30 a patron at Skilled Stadium, compared to A$7 earned at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. The Geelong Football Club had first floated Skilled Stadium as a potential home game venue for Melbourne clubs in 2006.[14]

On 10 April 2011, the Victorian Government announced it will invest A$25 million into the third stage of a major redevelopment of Geelong’s Skilled Stadium. Under the plans, the Doug Wade stand at the southern end of the stadium was pulled down at the end of the 2011 AFL season, with a new stand incorporating a new community wellness and education centre expected to be completed early in the 2013 season. Once finished it will increase the capacity of the stadium by more than 7000 to 33,500. Geelong CEO Brian Cook said stage three of the stadium's redevelopment would cost $34 million in total, with the club still looking for $3 million from both the AFL and the City of Greater Geelong.

On 13 May 2011, the Geelong Football Club applied for Federal Government funding for A$9 million to install AFL and international cricket standard lighting at the stadium, and $6 million to deliver a sports museum, permanent broadcast screens, improved food and beverage facilities for spectators, an upgrade to existing education centre plans, and a long room-style members' lounge.[15]

An AFL night match at Simonds Stadium (2014)

Unfortunately the estimated price of approximately $30 million was incorrect; in November 2011 it was reported that the actual cost would have been over $42 million. The Geelong Cats CEO Brian Cook announced that the club did not have the money to fund the extra $12 million for the originally planned expansion, so in order to bring the redevelopment cost back down to $30 million, a few minor cuts were made to the design: the capacity was reduced by 1000, a supporter's lounge was removed, and the plan was changed to use cheaper steel instead of concrete.[16] On 26 August 2012 the club announced it would be named the Players Stand, continuing its belief that the names of stands should reflect club values (e.g. the Premiership Stand). From 1 November 2011, the venue became known as Simonds Stadium, after homebuilding group Simonds Homes signed a five-year naming rights deal.[17][18]

On 31 October 2012, the AFL announced the first match of the 2013 AFL season to be played at the stadium will be the Cats versus Gold Coast on June 1. With a starting time of 7:40 pm, it was the first match played there at night and in artificial light from the new towers. The game was played in front of 30,082 fans, the largest crowd at the stadium at that time since the first stage of the re-development. Prior to the match, the Players Stand was officially opened.

In September 2014, then Victorian opposition leader Daniel Andrews promised $70 million to complete another stage of the upgrade of the oval if the Labor party got elected in November.[19] The stage funded involves demolishing the Brownlow and Jennings stands and replacing them with an extension of the Premiership stand.

Hosted events


The highest crowd to ever attend an event at Kardinia Park was an Australian Rules Football match between the Geelong Cats and the Carlton Blues on the 30 August 1952, 49,109 attended. On the 4 January 2009 the Victoria Bushrangers Twenty20 Cricket team against the Queensland Bulls attracted 12,327. A Soccer match between Melbourne Victory and the Perth Glory in 2015 pulled a crowd of 21,289. The first Rugby match at Kardinia Park occurred in 2012, Melbourne Rebels played Waikato Chiefs and attracted a crowd of 8,000.

Attendance records

Top 10 sports attendances

No. Date Teams Sport Competition Crowd
1 30 August 1952 Geelong Cats v. Carlton Blues Australian rules football VFL 49,107
2 16 August 1980 Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Magpies Australian rules football VFL 42,278
3 20 April 1981 Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Magpies Australian rules football VFL 41,395
4 3 August 1963 Geelong Cats v. Essendon Bombers Australian rules football VFL 40,885
5 25 April 1964 Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Australian rules football VFL 40,299
6 28 March 1981 Geelong Cats v. Essendon Bombers Australian rules football VFL 37,256
7 12 July 1952 Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Magpies Australian rules football VFL 36,145
8 25 April 1970 Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Magpies Australian rules football VFL 35,654
9 13 June 1988 Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Magpies Australian rules football VFL 35,322
10 15 April 1967 Geelong Cats v. Collingwood Magpies Australian rules football VFL 35,151

Last updated 22 September 2013

Top 10 AFL attendances since 2002

No. Date Teams Round Crowd
1 7 September 2013 Geelong v. Fremantle Qualifying Final 32,815
2 1 June 2013 Geelong v. Gold Coast Round 10 30,082
3 24 August 2013 Geelong v. Sydney Round 22 28,459
4 21 June 2015 Geelong v. Melbourne Round 12 28,007
5 8 August 2015 Geelong v. Sydney Round 19 27,910
6 31 August 2013 Geelong v. Brisbane Lions Round 23 27,467
7 23 May 2014 Geelong v. North Melbourne Round 10 27,402
8 27 July 2013 Geelong v. St Kilda Round 18 27,200
9 9 August 2014 Geelong v. Fremantle Round 20 26,855
10 29 June 2013 Geelong v. Fremantle Round 14 26,743

Last updated 20 August 2015


  • AFL Attendance Records

VFL/AFL Records



Last updated: 25 May 2015.[20]


  • Length – 170m
  • Width – 115m
  • Goals run north to south


The field is the narrowest playing field used for AFL games, however many other venues are much shorter (with the Gabba and Wellington Regional Stadium both being the shortest). The field also has the same playing dimensions as Stadium Australia.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Football". The Argus (Melbourne, VIC). 29 September 1884. p. 7. 
  4. ^ J.W. (3 December 1921). "Football – turning the tables". The Australasian CXI (2905) (Melbourne, VIC). 
  5. ^ "Football – New Association clubs". The Argus (Melbourne, VIC). 7 January 1926. p. 11. 
  6. ^ "All Power to the Cats on home turf".  
  7. ^ "Cats seek new name for home". Tom Peeters. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  8. ^ Opening month of A-League season 10 features a series of blockbuster matches, Fox Sports Australia, 12 June 2014
  9. ^ "KARDINIA PARK UPGRADE TO GIVE GEELONG NEW BOUNCE". Media Release: FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PREMIER. 20 June 2003. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  10. ^ Dylan Tickell (2 July 2008). "Spring start to Skilled work". Geelong News. p. 2. 
  11. ^ "Geelong Scores a Win with Funding for Skilled Stadium". Press Release – Peter Costello. 3 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  12. ^ "Stand taking shape". Richie Pace. 15 January 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  13. ^ "Funding boost for Geelong clubs". The Geelong Advertiser. 22 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  14. ^ Peter Farago (9 May 2009). "Geelong puts out welcome mat for other AFL clubs". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  15. ^ "Plan for $15m Skilled Stadium lighting and museum". Daniel Breen. Geelong Advertiser. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  16. ^ "Stadium renovations still on track". Alex Oates. Geelong Advertiser. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  17. ^ Simonds Stadium new name for Kardinia Park
  18. ^ Cat's home re-branded
  19. ^
  20. ^


  • Kardinia Park at Austadiums
  • Peter Begg (1990). Geelong – The First 150 Years. Globe Press. ISBN


  • "Around the Grounds" – Web Documentary – Kardinia Park

External links

  • Official Simonds Stadium website
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