Upgrading Manuka Oval a priority

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Upgrading Manuka Oval is Dave Matthews’ top priority with the Greater Western Sydney boss fed up with Canberra fans being forced to miss quarters of football to line up for amenities.

Packed houses have become the norm with the Giants edging closer to the end of a 10-year, $23 million partnership with the ACT government to host games at an ageing Manuka Oval.

Informal discussions about extending the deal beyond 2021 have taken place and Giants chief executive Matthews expects the deal will be renewed given it has been a bigger success than anticipated.

But the future of Manuka Oval could be a key component in a new deal with Matthews adamant “fans deserve better facilities” if they are to keep flocking to Giants matches in Canberra.

“There’s no doubt that’s the number one priority down here, and I think the government would share that view as well,” Matthews said at the Giants’ grand final lunch in Canberra on Tuesday.

“Because it’s not for the Giants necessarily, it’s for the fans of the game, it’s for the people in this room, and it’s for the women and girls who queue up for toilets and miss quarters of football and all the things that go with what is basically a venue that is in need and warrants a major upgrade.

“A couple of years ago we responded to an opportunity with the ACT government to put together a proposal to try to find some capital that would help do that.

“That didn’t eventuate and now we’re in discussions with government and others to say ‘well, what is the plan over the next few years?’

“Because our players love coming to Canberra and love playing in front of what is a genuine home, a genuine home ground advantage, I think Leon [Cameron] would agree with that. It’s an incredible surface, we couldn’t want for a better atmosphere in terms of their parochialism.

 “The fans deserve better facilities, there’s no doubt about that.”
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