New State Rugby Centre of Excellence

 Acting Premier, the Hon. James Merlino MP, announced the single largest investment ever made in Victorian Rugby, which will deliver a new State Rugby Centre of Excellence at La Trobe University in Bundoora, serving all participants in the sport from community to elite levels.

Melbourne Rebels Chair and Rugby Victoria Director Paul Docherty said that Rugby in the state was now ready to scale new heights and vastly expand its successful community and high-performance programs through this massive game-changing investment by the Andrews Government.

“In 133 years, Victorian Rugby has never had such a wonderful opportunity to grow the game and share its benefits with all Victorians. We are thrilled with the State Government’s unprecedented commitment to the sport, which recognises Victorian Rugby’s proven capacity to positively impact our community,” Docherty said.

The State Rugby Centre of Excellence will provide Victoria with vital infrastructure to support the ongoing development of local Victorian talented player pathways and community impact programs.

World-class high-performance rugby training and education facilities will include a new home for the semi-professional Melbourne Rebels Super-W program, all underage Victorian representative teams and the Rugby Victoria Pasifika Program and Quilt Program.

“The opportunities that the new Centre will deliver are limitless. Together with enabling more Victorian participants to enjoy the best Rugby facilities and programs available anywhere in Australia, this will be a brilliant addition to Victoria’s world class sporting and event infrastructure.

“It will be a huge boost to our bid for the 2027 Rugby World Cup and provide essential capacity to host the world’s best teams in Melbourne in future years, including the British and Irish Lions in c2025.

“The support of the Victorian Government, led by Minister Pakula and Minister Spence, is enormously appreciated by the entire Rugby community and will drive the continued growth of the sport for generations to come,” Docherty said.

The State Rugby Centre of Excellence will be delivered in partnership with La Trobe University, Rugby Victoria, Melbourne Rebels and Football Victoria and will see the two sports – soccer and rugby – co-located at new facilities at the La Trobe University Sports Park.

Project delivery will commence in July 2021.

Rugby Victoria President Neil Hay
“We are absolutely thrilled by the State Government’s commitment to a dedicated home for the global game in Victoria. It is an historic moment that will forever change the game for Rugby, participants and community in Victoria.

Melbourne Rebels SuperW player and Wallaroo Georgia Cormick
“Rugby in Victoria keeps on getting better and better. To have this support for our game and a new purpose-built home for our Rebels Super W team is hugely important and provides the perfect environment for young girls wanting to get involved in our sport.”

Melbourne Rebels player and Wallaby Jordan Uelese
“This is a great news for the Rebels and all of Rugby in Victoria. To have our own Centre of Excellence here in Melbourne is an amazing boost for the game and I look forward to seeing the next generation of players coming through to represent our Club and country.”

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula

“Our women’s soccer and rugby teams are world leaders. This new base will help keep it that way, and provide the facilities that our young stars need to climb the ladder and eventually take over from their heroes.”

Melbourne Rebels Chair Paul Docherty

“In 133 years, Victorian Rugby has never had such a wonderful opportunity to grow the game and share its benefits with all Victorians.  We are thrilled with the State Government’s unprecedented commitment to the sport.”

Football Victoria president Antonella Care

“Football Victoria and Football Australia’s target of 50/50 male-female participation by 2027 is ambitious, but this announcement provides us with the launch pad to make that ambition a reality for Victoria.”

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar

“To have some of the world’s very best professional women’s sports teams housed in this exceptional new development at La Trobe’s Sports Park will be a huge boost for our students, for sports science research, and for the community in Melbourne’s north.”