$5 million needed to give Warnie his stand

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KEVIN MURRAY is out and Shane Warne is in as Cricket Victoria unveils its new headquarters at the Junction Oval. KEN PIESSE reports:

CRICKET VICTORIA is committed to honoring its favorite son Shane Warne as it unveils its $40 million Junction Oval redevelopment. The only problem is that it needs another $5 million before the Shane Warne Stand at the southern end of the historic old ground is officially opened.

Right now, Kevin Murray the old Fitzroy champion, still has naming rights on the old stand which has been in a state of decay ever since Fitzroy was thrown off the oval in the late ‘80s.

The family wants to retain Kevin’s sign, but already a large slice of it has been battered. The stand is unused and off limits and will stay that way unless Cricket Victoria can negotiate more financial assistance after its move from Jolimont.

Initially St Kilda Cricket Club wanted to honor its most famous living cricketer by re-naming the Junction the Shane Warne Oval, but that was scuppered by the local community.

Cricket Victoria is looking for an overall ground sponsorship, similar to the Geelong Football Club’s arrangement at Kardinia Park and Carlton at Princes Park.

It is happy to call its new headquarters the “Optus” Junction Oval, but only if the money is right.

Sportshounds.com.au was privy to a sneak preview of CV’s magnificent state of the art headquarters. The facilities are truly awesome with indoor and outdoor nets, dressing room facilities, a large gymnasium, swimming pools, car parking and much, much more.

Everything is new, even the 12-wicket area in the centre of the oval, already used for Future League matches, the final of Country Week and a Sheffield Shield game this weekend.

There is a stunning board room with at least some of the historic wooden plaques which were such a feature of the old delegates room at Jolimont.

The old Blackie-Ironmonger Stand remains, named after two of St Kilda’s finest. It has been reconditioned and rejuvenated.

Cricket Victoria’s Shaun Graf, responsible for much of the redevelopment, says it is not known when the funds will be available to also complete the Murray Stand, which was previously the G. Newman Stand.

“We think it would be fitting if it was named after Warnie, given this is where it all started for him — but there is still a way to go before that can happen,” he said.

Graf says contractors are trying to keep intact the old Kevin Murray Stand sign but it is made of concrete and may be impossible to save.

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Author: Ken Piesse

KEN PIESSE has covered cricket and football for more than 30 years in Melbourne. He has written, edited and published more than 70 sports books. Signed copies of his latest cricket book Heroes of the Hour, cricket’s quintessential moments from Bradman and Lillee to Warne and Steve Smith, is available from www.cricketbooks.com.au

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