Hawthorn chasing state money for AFL base

Jeff Kennett says a personal feud with the Victorian government has been costly for Hawthorn.
Jeff Kennett says a personal feud with the Victorian government has been costly for Hawthorn.

Hawthorn expect the Victorian government will chip in for the club's new $100 million headquarters despite president Jeff Kennett's ongoing stoush with Premier Daniel Andrews.

On Thursday, the Hawks welcomed $15 million in federal government funding for the project, which will begin next year.

The club will contribute "in excess of $30 million" to the project, which will include administration, elite training and community facilities.

But Kennett believes his criticism of the Andrews government's bungled hotel quarantine system has cost the club additional funding.

The outspoken Hawks president told News Corp the state government was "playing politics" at the expense of the Dingley community in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs, where the new club base will be built.

Four rival AFL clubs have received funding commitments from the state government for similar projects over the past week.

Hawthorn chief executive Justin Reeves said the club is still working with all levels of government on the project.

"As we stand here today, we don't have a firm commitment from the state government, but that relationship is really strong," Reeves said.

"We feel like they'll be a participant in this project at some stage and hopefully before too long."

Andrews was dismissive of Kennett on Thursday, declaring he gives "very little thought" to the Hawthorn president when quizzed on the latest criticism.

Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula followed up by refuting Kennett's claims about state government funding.

"It's not correct. In fact, I caught up with the Hawthorn CEO (Reeves) just last week," Pakula told SEN on Thursday.

The Hawks' Dingley site is in Pakula's Keysborough electorate.

"I'm really keen to see progress there, particularly from the community point of view," Pakula said.

"It will be considered in the future budget, but I wouldn't take all of (Kennett's) claim on face value, quite frankly."

The Hawks' Kennedy Community Centre - named after club legend John Kennedy Snr, who died in June - will include a base for the club's administration, as well as its men's and women's football programs.

The women's oval and accompanying pavilion will be key planks in the Hawks' ongoing bid for an AFLW licence.

"It's been something that we've been passionate about for some time and we've been working closely with the AFL to make sure that Hawthorn has an AFLW team sooner rather than later," Reeves said.

"It's really important for the whole Hawthorn family.

"We expect that we'll be in the AFLW before long and that we'll have the best facilities for an AFLW program."

Australian Associated Press