St Kilda firms for future Wellington involvement
Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 03:55 pm ACST
Contributed by: Rod Shaw
As reported in the local Dominion Post newspaper , Wellington is in the boxseat to host the first AFL competition game outside Australia, perhaps as soon as next year, as St Kilda search for a home away from home.
This has been previously reported on WFN arousing much debate about the merits of playing a game for Premiership points internationally but it seems what was once a pipe dream now seems as Elvis would say "On the edge of reality".
The Saints, with encouragement from the AFL, are in talks with Wellington City Council about developing a relationship similar to Hawthorn's deal with the Tasmanian Government.
Wellington Council sports and events portfolio leader and former NZ cricketer John Morrison sees potential for a mutually beneficial arrangement between Wellington and St Kilda.
Morrison and businessman John Dow – a key figure behind Wellington hosting three pre-season AFL games between 1998 and 2001 – have accepted an invitation to attend the Anzac Day blockbuster between Collingwood and Essendon at the MCG next week.
Morrison hoped "two or three major meetings" in Melbourne would advance already-positive discussions towards St Kilda "hosting" an Anzac Day game in Wellington next year. It would mark the first time a competition game has been played outside Australia.
"We've got both the AFL and St Kilda looking at a proposition," Morrison said.
"It's still got a fair way to travel but we've had positive talks about St Kilda being associated with Wellington and looking to play up to two, maybe even three, major club games against opposition like Collingwood, Essendon or whoever.
"So the two factors make it pretty interesting, that we've got a club who wishes to be in partnership with us and we've got the governing body. We're talking about this partnership arrangement kicking off next year with an Anzac Day game here. I think that's a particularly good marketing ploy."
"The potential is to start with 10,000 Aussies coming into town and there's a lot of other fans around New Zealand. There's still question marks around how the money is split up but the good thing is they are very serious and so are we."