Waverley Park, AFL Park
Victoria Football League
Australian Rules, Baseball
22:59, Tue May 24, 2022 (UTC +1000)


VFL Park, which subsequently become known as Waverley Park, was built in 1970 at a cost of Aus$3 million, although original plans for a 140,000 seater stadium were not realised, with the plan that it would replace the MCG as the home of AFL. It never achieved that, although it was at times the home to Hawthorn and St Kilda. It also hosted the 1991 Grand Final when the MCG was being redeveloped.

The main problem was location, with the ground some 25km from the city and poorly served by public transport. In addition, vast banks of the seats were uncovered and corporate facilities limited.

It staged baseball games and in 1977 hosted the first World Series Cricket Supertest, although less than 14,000 turned up over the three days of the match.

The building of the indoor Telstra Dome was the venue's death knell and in 1999 a crowd of 72,130 watched the last AFL match, although some pre-season games were held in 2000. The ground fell into disuse and became vandalised, and various proposals, including a theme park, fell through. In 2001 the land was sold for property development and it is now a massive housing estate, although some of the stands and grandstand have been retained and modernised and are used by Hawthorn FC.
Martin Williamson

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Day-night cricket was a Packer innovation and one which saved World Series Cricket. The first such match took place on December 14, 1977 and was sparsely attended, but the idea caught on quickly and by the second season – 1978-79 – even the Supertestswere played partially under lights.
Day-night cricket at Melbourne's VFL Park
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A drop-in pitch at Melbourne's VFL Park. One of the main innovations forced on Packer by the unavailability of major grounds was the hiring of non-cricket stadia. To get round the problems of pitch quality, Packer's groundsmen devised drop-in pitches, November 1977
A drop-in pitch at Melbourne's VFL Park
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