State Netball and Hockey Centre

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State Netball and Hockey Centre
State Netball Hockey Centre (also known as the State Netball and Hockey Centre) is a multipurpose sporting facility located in Melbourne, Australia. It is the home arena of the Melbourne Vixens netball team in the ANZ Championship, and the Melbourne Tigers National Basketball League team. The facility is located in Royal Park, Parkville next to the Melbourne Zoo. The arena was opened on 16 March 2001, and is run as a non-profit facility by the State Sport Centres Trust. and consists of two outdoor hockey fields, four outdoor and five indoor netball courts.

The development of the State Netball Hockey center dates back to 1996 when the Royal Park Master Plan was prepared by the City of Melbourne. Under the plan the existing State Netball Centre would be demolished and integrated with the State Hockey Centre. The demolishing of the State Netball Centre along with a reduction in the number of outdoor courts enabled the reinstatement of parkland and playing fields. The plan also outlined improving amenities for all park users in conjunction with the development of the Centre, including improved roads, public transport and car parking. In May 1998 funding for the project at $24.5 million by the Community Support Fund was approved at development was officially announced by the State Government. In February 1999 a revised budget of $27 million was accepted after a tender process found that the previous budget was too small, even after reducing the scope of the project. The approval for the Centre was fast-tracked so significant progress would be made so the venue could be assessed by the 2006 Commonwealth Games Evaluations Panel in mid-1999.The redevelopment of the facilities began in March 1999 and was planned to be completed by April 2000. Construction was completed in November 2000, and the facility was officially opened on 16 March 2001 . The redevelopment of the Park had seen objections from interest groups. In May 1999 legal action commenced against the redevelopment of Royal Park on the grounds that the development was inconsistent with the purpose of the Crown land reservation. Another issue was raised after concerns over the effects of the exterior lights on the surround areas, including the Melbourne Zoo.

The Centre has 5 indoor netball courts including two in the main stadium along with 4 outdoor courts. The main stadium has permanent seating on three sides of the courts and retractable seating can be used (covering the second court) to increase the capacity to 3,000. The secondary hall can be configured for 250 spectators. When the main stadium is configured for basketball it has a capacity of 3,500. The netball courts can be transformed to cater for basketball, volleyball, martial arts, concerts, indoor soccer and other indoor sports. The centre has two “wet” hockey pitches with a grandstand between, providing seating for 1,000 spectators undercover on the main pitch and seating for 250 spectators on second pitch. The main pitch is surrounded by grassed seating areas which can accommodate temporary seating for up to 8,000 spectators. The hockey pitches can be transformed to cater for lacrosse, gridiron, soccer, touch football and other outdoor sports.

This arena has been used for professional netball since its opening. It is hosted the VNL, ANL and the Commonwealth Bank Trophy. It currently hosts the ANZ Championship. Past tenants include the most highly successful team in the Commonwealth Bank Trophy, Melbourne Phoenix. The current tenant is the 2009 ANZ Championship premiers, the Melbourne Vixens.

During the NBL season the facility is used by the Melbourne Tigers and is nicknamed 'The Cage'. The Melbourne Tigers made the Centre their home in 2002 due to financial trouble and the high costs of hiring their previous home, Vodafone Arena.

Commonwealth Games
For the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games the facility was used for all the hockey games and netball preliminary.

Water conservation
As part of an initiative in conjunction with the Commonwealth Games in 2004 the Centre received a grant from the Smart Water Trust to recycle water from the hockey pitches and the roof structure. The recycled water substitutes for drinking water to water the hockey pitches and is expected to reduce water usage by 78%.


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