Rutherglen Football Club seeks council support for grant to upgrade women’s locker rooms

With all eyes on women’s football as the AFLW draw takes place today, a club in Rutherglen, northeast Victoria, says it is dealing with “outdated” locker rooms where players “shower in their clothes”.

The Murray Felines Football Club, which is made up of around 100 players from across the region, plays its home games at the local Barkly Park, where there are no closed shower doors in either dressing room.

There are also no barriers or doors separating each shower, and persons entering the rooms can see directly into the shower areas.

Felines’s Mietta Habets said the rooms were very old and unsuitable for the club’s player base.

“There is one bathroom. The door doesn’t lock, so you need a friend to hold the door,” she said.

“The showers face the door to the club rooms, so there is no privacy.”

Club committee member Cooper Gabriel said the situation was a “joke”.

“She [the players] have to travel far to get to a bathroom that meets the needs they have during a competition,” she said.

“Everyone is aware it’s a problem — men and women, boys and girls.”

Club urges support from the municipality

Old communal shower without doors.
Murray Felines football club has said it has been in talks with the municipality for months about concerns about the Barkly Park dressing room.ABC Goulburn Murray: Callum Marshall

The Murray Felines want Indigo Shire Council to apply for funding for a government grant that would help upgrade the locker rooms, with only Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Alpine Resort Boards (ARBs) to apply.

The grant application, which closes on July 12, provides funds of up to $1 million per LGA or ARB to improve women-friendly athletic facilities.

Murray Felines board member Paul Somerville said the rooms were outdated and the club had been in talks with the council about funding for six months.

“They’ve basically been trying to push us down this second master plan process, but that’s really just a way to kick the can for another two or three years down the road.

“We do have a master plan. We do have a concept plan. We do have a functional layout for what the changing rooms could look like.

“The Indigo Shire” [Council] were able to get on board quickly and make things happen if they really wanted to.”

Ms Habets said the lack of progress on this issue is frustrating.

A young woman standing in front of the shower room of a sports locker room
Players and committee members have been frustrated by a lack of progress in upgrading Barkly Park’s locker rooms.

“There is a lot of support for girls in sports and especially girls’ football, especially in this region,” she said.

“It’s frustrating for the girls who play, for the parents, for the coaches.

Council responds

Indigo Shire Council said it recognized the need to upgrade locker room facilities at Barkly Park and was committed to working with the park’s management committee and its user groups.

A spokesperson said the council had received advice from the Local Sports Infrastructure Fund saying that a new funding application for Barkly Park upgrades would not be successful as funding from the previous round had already been awarded to develop a master plan for the site. develop.

“The Council worked closely with the Barkly Park management committee to secure funding for the master plan through the 2021/22 funding round,” they said.

“Design work can continue to support future applications once proper project delineation and preparation has been completed [master plan] It is done.”

The spokesperson said the master planning process was expected to be completed by December 2022.