Caroline Springs Football Club growing pains

Marc Raak of The Caroline Springs Football Club. They have been pleading with Melton council to upgrade their "substandard" facilities for the girls team.

The Caroline Springs Football Club is one of the leaders in women’s and girls’ footy across the state, boasting more than 60 female players … but the club isn’t happy.

Club director Marc Raak says the girls have been forced to use “substandard” facilities where power and water to their portable changing rooms, toilets and showers is precarious.

And if Melton council doesn’t urgently upgrade its town centre home grounds, says Mr Raak, the club will have to turn families away.

“We’ve been in negotiations with Melton [council] for the past two years to upgrade the facilities… but we’ve hit a dead end most times, which is a shame because we don’t want to turn anyone away, especially kids, and especially girls.”

The club now has two girls’ teams and is looking at having a women’s team next season, but Mr Raak says the current facilities are so inadequate that the club will struggle.

The families are “frustrated” at the lack of facilities and commitment the council is showing to the Caroline Springs Football Club, Mr Raak says.

“We’ve had meeting after meeting with Melton council … but we need some action.

“We’re at the brink now, especially with the expansion of the girls’ team and the signing on with the Collingwood Football Club.”

Mr Raak says the club hopes to attract professional AFL players and clubs, but “when they do arrive, we want to show them that we do have the basic facilities”.

The female change rooms and bathrooms, and storage rooms are the most pressing issues that need to be addressed, according to Mr Raak.

“[Melton council] tells us what they gotta tell us and hope we go away. We’re not going away. We’ve got all of these great things on the go and we need to have facilities to keep pace.”

Melton council recreation and youth manager Adrian Burns said money to upgrade the town centre grounds was not provided in this year’s budget because it was a future stage of a current development.

“Council is in the process of designing a new Regional Tennis Centre and extension to the high-ball court facilities at the leisure centre,” Mr Burns said.

“This development, in line with the council’s previously adopted masterplan for the Caroline Springs town centre, includes the future development of additional changing facilities to support oval use at the Recreation Reserve.”

Mr Burns said the upgrades to the grounds would be subject to state government funding.