The Tigers will embark on a $1.9 million redevelopment of their Punt Rd Oval, leaving players seeking a new training venue from early next month.
Club chiefs last night defended the disruption to a season shaping as Richmond's best since the club last played finals in 2001. "The timing is never ideal but now is the right time to move," Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale told the Herald Sun.
"There will be some short-term inconvenience, but it is simply something that needed to be done for the long-term benefit of the club." The Tigers are reconfiguring the Punt Rd ground into an Etihad Stadium-sized oval without the impediment of cricket wickets.
The shabby surface slopes almost 2m down to the Brunton Ave end and is prone to flooding. "Work will commence on the oval next month and we expect that will mean our players can be back training on the ground by November to give them full access for the 2013 pre-season," Gale said.
"It is imperative the surface is available for pre-season which is when it is used most by players - that is why it makes sense to push ahead with these works now." The Tigers had shared the Punt Rd ground with the Richmond Cricket Club for more than a century, but recently convinced the cricketers to shift.
Richmond's pre-season campaigns have been constantly unsettled by the unavailability of the Punt Rd ground and the hardness of the centre square.
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