Some of the Ballina Bomber’s youngest AFL players (from front) Jeremy Jago, 10, Patrick Jago, 9, Will Bainbridge, 8, and Ned Bainbridge, 6, are happy they’ll soon be able to play under proper lighting at Fripp Oval in Ballina.
Some of the Ballina Bomber’s youngest AFL players (from front) Jeremy Jago, 10, Patrick Jago, 9, Will Bainbridge, 8, and Ned Bainbridge, 6, are happy they’ll soon be able to play under proper lighting at Fripp Oval in Ballina. Jay Cronan

Bright future for AFL

FRIPP OVAL at Ballina could soon become the regional headquarters for the local AFL competition, with plans on track for the installation of above-standard lights.

Secretary/treasurer for the Ballina Bombers, Joanna Bainbridge, said the lights would make a huge difference to their club.

“We have 84 junior kidsbetween five and 14 years of age,” she said.

“At the moment we only have two poles at Fripp Oval and they are poorly positioned and don’t give out enough light because they are only 15 lux.

“The AFL standard is 100 lux.

“But the lights we’re hoping to get are 200 lux and we’ll have four light poles.”

The lights will cost a total of $210,000.

So far money has been committed by the Ballina senior AFL team ($5000), AFL Queensland ($35,000), Ballina Shire Council ($20,000) and, as of this week, the Federal Government’s Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program ($60,000).

It is hoped the State Gov-ernment will provide the remaining $90,000 for the project.

“We’re very optimistic about that,” Ms Bainbridge said.

“AFL Queensland is keen to make Fripp Oval the regional headquarters for the Northern Rivers.

“We’re in the Queensland catchment of the AFL competition.

“If we get these lights, we’ll be able to have regional championships, state junior championships and under-16 and under-18 twilight games.

“We could also have coaching clinics and umpiring clinics and camps.

“Our facilities are already good.

“We have great club rooms, the field is used solely for the AFL competition and the oval has good drainage.

“We’re also building coaches’ boxes and buying new training equipment.

“AFL Queensland are very strong supporters of us and got the ball rolling for these new lights.

“It will make Fripp Oval even better that what it already is.”

AFL is ‘definitely’ becoming more popular, Ms Bainbridge said, and next year is likely to be even bigger with the Gold Coast Suns entering the national AFL competition.

“Lots of young kids, 5 and 6 year olds, are signing up,” she said. “However, we start to struggle for numbers in the under-14s.”

Ms Bainbridge said the club hoped to have the lights in place by the start of the next season in March.

WE ASKED, PAGE 28



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