First published with The Courier –

Sebastopol Football Club players have kicked off on new ground this week during their first training at the upgraded Marty Busch Reserve.

The $1.7 million revamp to the Sebastopol sport complex is due to be fully completed in time for the start of the netball and footy seasons.


Sebastopol Football Club senior player Marshall Cain said it was great to have a ground they can play on all year round.

“It’s going to be nice to know what we are doing now is going to translate into footy in August and July, those times when it gets really wet,” he said.

“I think the Melbourne teams are definitely going to be happier coming down the highway to play here.

“It’s definitely good for us to be more professional and it is definitely going to be good for our footy.”

WORKS IN PROGRESS: Looking back at works underway at Marty Busch Reserve in December 2016. Picture: Skyline Drone Imaging.

New netball courts were completed last April as part of the project.

Work on the oval reconstruction, power and lighting upgrade, new fencing and coaches boxes is in progress.

Sebastopol Football Club Senior Head Coach Shane Snibson said Marty Busch Reserve had been a ‘tired old venue’ in the past.

“It would be fair to say Marty Busch Reserve last July had a bit of a reputation around the competition as not being a place you wanted to play footy,” he said.

”Last year we spent 10 weeks not training here.

“We are playing in a major league with competitors who have really good facilities. Now we are going to have a facility that allows us to train and prepare and play a really positive brand of proper footy.”

EXCITED FOR THE SEASON AHEAD: Club officials stand on the new ground. Picture: Rochelle Kirkham.

Sebastopol Football Club President Cameron Morgan said the upgrade will make the club attractive to new players.

”If you had come in the gate and saw the condition the ground was in as a higher end of player, you wouldn’t risk injury or play in those conditions,” he said.

“The update means a great deal for the community. If Sebastopol is winning and up and about the community get right behind the team.”

Councillor Jim Rindali said it was important to remember there have been upgrades to other parts of the sporting complex, not only the football ground.

“The whole facility is a known sporting precinct,” he said.

“If we have got better facilities people are more likely to participate in sport.”

TRAINING HARD: Senior football player training back at the ground for the first time since the upgrades. Picture: Rochelle Kirkham.

Chris Parker, Sebastopol Football Club Ground Development Representative, said the upgrade is a great reward for players who have been loyal to the club.

“Quite a few of the players have stuck around for a number of years without a lot of success,” he said.

“For them to stay and see the upgrade we knew was coming for a number of years, for them to hang around and see it finally arrive is a reward for their loyalty.”