THE addition of synthetic turf and floodlighting will allow Southern River Hockey Club to host international games and run outreach and re-direction programs.
The club has secured funding to install state-of-the-art synthetic hockey turf, fencing and floodlights at Sutherlands Park.
President John Heath said the club had big plans for the future, including programs for troubled youths.
“We can now run re-direction programs and outreach programs, which are aimed at the troubled youths and the drug-affected,” he said.
“Get them in, pick them up on a Friday, run them around, feed them, clothe them, put them on a field, use indigenous role models to mentor these kids and keep them safe and healthy.
“We want to get them out of a bad environment and give them a good environment and structure.”
Mr Heath also said the state-of-the-art surface, coupled with plans to improve facilities, meant the club could potentially host Kookaburras and Hockeyroos games.
“It’s being built to international standards, so we want international games here; Hockeyroos and Kookaburras, we’ll aim to have them here,” he said.
Mr Heath admitted the club had lost many promising junior members because of the inadequate current facilities and believed the new turf would see them return.
“On the whole we probably lost 40 kids to other clubs because they don’t have the first grade opportunities here you’d get at other clubs because they have turf,” he said.
“We train anywhere from Rockingham to Melville to UWA and spend in excess of $40,000 a year in training costs and game costs.
“Can you imagine travelling from here to Rockingham once a week? Our sessions are 9pm-10pm, so you don’t get home until 11pm-11.30pm.
“It’s not conducive to junior development, because kids aren’t allowed out at night.”
The total cost of the project is $2.616 million.
The Federal Government has committed $1.3 million to the project, with Southern River Hockey Club, the WA Department of Sport and Recreation and the City of Gosnells funding the remaining money.
The synthetic turf takes four months to install and is expected to be ready for use by December, in time for the new season.