Rugby Victoria and the Melbourne Rebels have welcomed today’s announcement by the Andrews Labor Government to provide $1.5M of funding to execute the next stage of planning for the Victorian State Rugby Centre at La Trobe University.
This announcement significantly advances the development of a new “home of rugby” on track for a December 2022 completion.
The new State Rugby Centre will be adjacent to a new home for Australia’s women’s football team, the Matildas, and provide a central training, playing and administration facility for our rugby programs including Pasifika and Quilt programs.
The project will be delivered in partnership with the State Government, La Trobe University, Rugby Victoria and Football Federation Victoria and will see the two sports – football and rugby – co-located at new facilities at the La Trobe University Sports Park.
The State Rugby Centre will provide Victoria with world class rugby training and education facilities, providing much needed infrastructure to support the ongoing development of local Victorian talented player pathways, competitions and community impact programs. This includes a new home for the semi-professional Melbourne Rebels Super-W program, all underage Victorian representative teams and the Rugby Victoria Quilt Program.
The facility will also significantly benefit all of rugby in Australia through game development, community engagement and major event support. Victoria is proud of our state’s rich rugby history and the State Rugby Centre will be instrumental in supporting the next Jordan Uelese or Georgia Cormick representing the Wallabies or Wallaroos respectively.
Victoria stands ready to support Rugby Australia’s bid for the 2027 Rugby World Cup and the development of the State Rugby Centre will add to Victoria’s world class event infrastructure. The facility provides an opportunity to host the world’s most elite international teams travelling to Melbourne in future years, including the British and Irish Lions in 2025.
“Victoria is the sleeping giant of Australian Rugby and today’s announcement signalling a new home for our global game in this state is a watershed moment that acknowledges our huge future potential,” said Rugby Victoria President Neil Hay.
“I’d like to thank La Trobe University, particularly Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar, for his support of all sport and his support of developing the La Trobe University Sports Park which will now host Victoria’s home of rugby in the very near future.
“We are thrilled by today’s announcement and excited to develop a home for Rugby in Victoria."
Rugby Victoria CEO Chris Evans echoed these sentiments.
“The Victorian State Rugby Centre will serve as a dedicated, year-round facility to strengthen player, coach and official development, support female participation and will be the home of the Melbourne Rebels and Rugby Victoria Pathway and Pasifika programs," stated Mr Evans.
"The Centre will be a community hub for Rugby activities and programs that will support our continued growth, development and connection with our community.
"The Victorian State Rugby Centre will be the home of the Melbourne Rebels Super-W team and our women’s pathway programs which is a wonderful synergy with our partners at FFV and the Matildas.
“On behalf of our Rugby community I would like to thank Minister Pakula and the Andrews Government for supporting the development of the Victorian State Rugby Centre and their ongoing support of Rugby in Victoria."
Jordan Uelese, Victoria's latest Wallaby, is excited about what this announcement means for future generations.
“As someone who has progressed through the rugby pathway in Victoria all the way from playing juniors, seniors, academy teams, representing the Rebels and then having the honour of wearing the Wallaby jersey at a World Cup, I can see this new State Rugby Centre having a huge impact on our future in Victoria,” said Uelese.
“I feel so privileged to represent my home town every time I pull on the Rebels jersey and I am so proud of the the growing number of Melbourne talent that is coming through into our men’s and women’s Melbourne Rebels squads.
"Like me, there is a lot of young Pasifika talent playing rugby in Victoria and this facility will be a meeting place for our community and share our love of the game.
“I know personally that I feel a commitment to all the young kids playing in this state to wave the flag for rugby, to represent them and to show them that there is a pathway to the professional ranks. Today’s announcement is a massive step forward in supporting the continued success of that pathway and for all of Rugby in Victoria.”