Elite sport organisations bring La Trobe Sports Park to life

Two of La Trobe University’s major sport industry partners have launched their 2021 season preparations at the state-of-the-art sport facilities located on the Bundoora Campus.

The men’s squads of both the Carlton Football Club and the Melbourne Rebels each completed a block of their preseason training programs at the La Trobe Sports Park over the summer months.

La Trobe University is the proud higher education partner of both Carlton and the Melbourne Rebels. La Trobe’s long-term ties with these major sport organisations provide students with practical employment outcomes and a wide range of opportunities in the sports industry in Australia.

La Trobe’s Sports Park precinct, the first of its kind in Australia, is a world-class facility for teaching, research, community participation and elite sport. The Sports Park not only houses a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility, an elite performance space and world-class sporting facilities to support major sports events, but it also hosts regular grass-roots competitions and community recreation opportunities for up to 10,000 local community members per week.

Over a six-week period from early January to the middle of February, the Melbourne Rebels based themselves at the Sports Park to take advantage of the wide array of fields and high-performance facilities within the precinct to help prepare them for the upcoming Super Rugby season.

Rugby-specific training was completed on a variety of surfaces including Tony Sheehan Oval, the FIFA-accredited synthetic football pitch and on the indoor courts within the La Trobe Sports Stadium, while strength and conditioning sessions and performance testing were conducted in the Sports Performance Hub.

Head Coach of the Melbourne Rebels, Dave Wessels, was full of praise for La Trobe’s facilities.

“It was fantastic to work with our major partner, La Trobe University, and utilise their Sports Pavilion for our pre-season,” Wessels said.

“The gym and strength and conditioning facilities are world class. Our players are well prepared for the 2021 rugby season.”

Carlton’s AFL squad visited the La Trobe Sports Park for a one-off preseason training day in early January, leaving the club’s Director of High Performance, Andrew Russell, impressed with the Australian Rules Football and high-performance facilities on offer.

“The training surface was elite, you could clearly see the time, effort and expertise required to produce such a quality training surface,” Russell said.

“After our on-field session, all players completed a strength-based session in the Strength and Conditioning Lab. The smart layout allowed for 20 players to train at one time with plenty of space and no congestion.

“The equipment was of the highest of quality, and the players thoroughly enjoyed training in such a high-performance centre.”

Carlton and the Melbourne Rebels’ visit to the Sports Park adds to the list of elite sport organisations who utilise the precinct’s facilities. La Trobe’s other major sport industry partner, Melbourne City FC, still retain a presence at the Bundoora Campus with their Youth team training on the soccer pitches at the Lower Playing Fields, while the La Trobe Sports Stadium also hosted the NAB League Women’s Testing Day in January.

Softball Australia, Softball Victoria and the Northern Football Netball League are based at the Sports Park with office tenancies within the La Trobe Sports Stadium, while Australia’s women’s football team, the Matildas, as well as Football Victoria and Rugby Victoria are all set to call the Sports Park home in the coming years.