Renegades ready for Big Bash in Geelong
THE Melbourne Renegades is warming up for its first home game of the coming Big Bash League (BBL) season, with the match to be played in Geelong in just over a week.
The December 10 game against the Perth Scorchers at GMHBA Stadium will follow immediately after this year’s Festival of Sport, which will again be held across the Kardinia Park precinct, and sports fans are being encouraged to attend both events.
Renegades star and now-Geelong resident Aaron Finch visited GMHBA Stadium earlier today (Friday, December 1) to promote the match alongside team-mates Tom Rogers and Jon Wells and Renegades general manager James Rosengarten, Geelong MP Christine Couzens, City of Greater Geelong deputy mayor Anthony Aitken, and Kardinia Park Stadium Trust chief executive officer Gerard Griffin.
Finch said he was happy to be back on the deck in front of the crowds at GMHBA Stadium.
“The one thing we’ve loved about the area is the welcome we’ve got every time we play here.
“It’s a really special place to play, and as you can see with the development still going on, it’s unbelievable and will be even more so when it’s completed.”
Finch said the Renegades had turned the team’s form around from finishing bottom in season 11 to third in season 12, and the side was capable of winning the tournament in season 13.
“It’s certainly been a great turnaround. Yes, we can [win it], that’s the bottom line; we’ve got all the tools there to be able to do that.
“I think Nic Maddison getting injured last year didn’t help at the back end, obviously, as the skipper of the side.
“Overall, T20’s about really fine margins. We saw Brisbane Heat almost take Perth Scorchers all the way in that final – they were so close to winning it – and that just goes to show it just takes one person, or one over, or one partnership, that can be a huge difference in T20 cricket.”
He welcomed the shortened 10-game BBL season in 2023-24.
“It probably puts more emphasis on each and every game… you have to be right on from the start,” he said.
Mr Rosengarten said the December 10 match was a special one for the Renegades.
“Being the opening home game for our season, the Renegades have invested heavily in coming to Geelong and starting our season here, which we’re really excited about, and being able to share our special brand of cricket with Geelong and on GMHBHA Stadium, and I’ve very excited to see a sea of red in this stadium come next Sunday.
“The Renegades have a genuine commitment to Geelong and the Geelong region about bring professional sport here, and beyond that having a really active role in the community of Geelong and surrounds, and we’ll continue to invest really heavily in that.”
Ms Couzens said the Victorian government was proud to support Renegade matches in Geelong through its Regional Events Fund.
“Since 2018, we have supported eight Renegades games here at GMHBA Stadium, which has brough thousands of fans into Geelong.
“It’s fair to say the Renegades in Geelong is now a valuable fixture in our calendar of sporting events.”
She said Stage 5 of GMHBA Stadium, now under construction, would be complete in a “couple of months’ time”.
The Festival of Sport starts at 3pm on December 10 and is a jam-packed afternoon of free family fun and entertainment.
Last year’s festival featured more than 25 interactive sporting experiences including sporting staples such as Aussie Rules, cricket, rugby, netball and tennis as well as “come and try” opportunities such as disc golf, ninja skills, Japanese drumming and more.
Mr Griffin welcomed the continuing involvement of the Renegades at GMHBA Stadium.
“Over winter, obviously, we enjoy seeing the blue and white hoops run around on this field of play, but over summer, we very much like to think of this as the home of the reds, the home of the Renegades reds, and we love seeing the place a sea of red,” he said.
“You might even see a red seat that honours the biggest six that was seen hit here last season coming very soon to the stadium.
“I ask everyone to come along next Sunday week to enjoy the Festival of Sport followed by the Big Bash game against the Scorchers, support them at their home away from home, and get behind hopefully what will be another avalanche of fours and sixes of the kind Finchy and others hit last year in game one.”
The Renegades’ first game of the 2023-24 BBL season will be against the Sydney Sixers at the SCG on Friday, December 8.