Friday 4 November 2016
In a move welcomed by the Frankston Dolphins Football Club, the Dandenong Southern Stingrays TAC Cup U18 team will be making Frankston Park their home for the 2016/17 summer pre-season.
The Dolphins and Stingrays have enjoyed a long and successful partnership, with countless players graduating from the Stingrays’ U18 ranks to play for Frankston, including current AFL stars Michael Hibberd (Melbourne), Nic Newman (Sydney) and premiership hero Matthew Boyd (Western Bulldogs).
“The Frankston Football Club is the next step in the pathway for Stingrays players who don’t initially get drafted, and the 2017 group of Stingrays will play a key role for our club’s aspiration to return to the VFL in 2018,” Dolphins steering group spokesman Peter Geddes said.
“We are also intending to broaden community use of the facilities at Frankston Park in 2017 and beyond. This is a good first step and we hope to make some other exciting announcements in the near future.”
The Stingrays home at Shepley Oval in Dandenong is used by the local Victorian Premier Cricket team over summer, leaving the Stingrays without an elite training venue during pre-season.
Dandenong Southern Stingrays Talent Manager, Mark Wheeler said the ability to have access to one central location in the pre-season is something the whole club is looking forward to.
“To have the ability to train at a venue three days a week with full access to showers, whiteboards, gym and Oval without a cricket pitch and the beach across the road for rehab is something the club hasn’t had in a pre-season for over 20 years,” said Mr Wheeler.
“The location is central to our zone, so it will cut out hundreds of hours in the car for parents and players who reside in the Peninsula part of the zone.”
“The added bonus is we will also utilise a full weights night once a week at Shepley Oval for the TAC Cup squad and the under 16s with the Towards Zero Stingrays female academy doing both nights out of Frankston Park.”
The temporary relocation is supported by AFL Victoria and Frankston City Council, with CEO Mr Dennis Hovenden saying the move makes sense with Frankston Park available as the Dolphins rebuild towards 2018.
“Like the Dolphins, the Stingrays offer young footballers in this region the opportunity to play at a high level, so it is a great fit to have them using the quality facilities at Frankston Park, and it is an excellent chance for the two clubs to further strengthen their relationship,” he said.
“By having the Stingrays use the facility over the summer pre-season, football will still have a presence within the community until the Dolphins come back bigger and better than ever.”
AFL Victoria Chief Executive Steven Reaper said he was pleased local players have the opportunity to use the Frankston Park facilities during the pre-season.
“As the Stingrays program grows, particularly as a pathway for Under 18 Girls, the need to access high quality facilities throughout the year increases,” said Mr Reaper.
“This arrangement will allow the Stingrays program to utilise a state-league venue without a cricket pitch for their pre-season.”
“The use of Frankston Park by the Southern Stingrays during pre-season is fantastic news. This deal and the positive outcome of the recent creditors meeting agreeing to accept partial payments over five years are great steps in bringing the Dolphins back into the VFL for 2018,” said Federal Member for Dunkley, Mr Chris Crewther MP.
“Between now and when the Dolphins field a VFL team once again we need to have a high level of football played at Frankston Park and the Stingrays will provide this,” said State Member for Frankston, Mr Paul Edbrooke MP.