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Cockburn too good to pass up, says Freo CEO

Dockers Strength and Conditioning Coach Michael Dobbin (left) instructs Nat Fyfe (right) during the Fremantle Dockers gym session at Fremantle Oval on December 09, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media) (Editor's Note: This image has been digitally converted to black and white)
Nat Fyfe trains in the Fremantle Oval gym.
The opportunity at Cockburn Central West is significant because of the nature of the facility.
Steve Rosich

Chief executive Steve Rosich says the Fremantle community will not be neglected when the Freo Dockers move to their new training base at Cockburn Central West in 2017.

Plans are well advanced for Freo to move from their current training and administration facility at Fremantle Oval to a new purpose-built facility at Cockburn Central West, located approximately 15km from their current base.

Construction is planned to begin in April with a view to Freo moving there during the 2017 AFL season ahead of playing home games at the new 60,000-seat Perth Stadium in Burswood, which is due to be completed by the start of 2018.

Rosich told that the move to Cockburn Central West was too good to pass up and the club is currently progressing through a number of options to maintain a presence of some description at Fremantle Oval.

"The opportunity at Cockburn Central West is significant because of the nature of the facility," Rosich said.

"The community facility that will house us as an elite football team in scope and scale is far greater than we could have ever dreamed here at Fremantle Oval.

"But we will look to have an ongoing presence at Fremantle Oval. We have worked with a consultant over the last 12 months to look at different possibilities and arrangements here at Fremantle Oval that will be great for the Fremantle community and also the football club and our members and supporters."

The move to the new Perth Stadium in 2018 will also provide a challenge for the club. Rosich sits on the working group that is currently dealing with the WA government on football's move from Domain Stadium (Subiaco Oval) to the new stadium and the commercial arrangements involved.

Rosich said the group, which is chaired by AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, was intimately aware of the issues that have occurred in South Australia with the move from AAMI Stadium to Adelaide Oval last year.

Port Adelaide suffered a $2.5 million loss in 2014 despite record crowds due, in part, to an unsatisfactory stadium deal.

Rosich said any fears of such problems with the new Perth Stadium were unfounded.

"We've looked at it and we certainly understand that arrangement (in Adelaide)," Rosich said.

"Particularly as the AFL is part of our negotiating team. But it's a very different situation here.

"It's a new build. It's not a renovation. There are not the historical ties with cricket to this stadium like there was in South Australia and there's a benchmark model already here in Western Australia at Domain Stadium.

"Albeit there might be some differences, we expect that it will closely mirror that at the new Perth Stadium."

The move to the new stadium can't come quick enough with Freo headed towards another record membership this year.

More than 47,000 members are already signed on the back of last season's record (48,777), but the capacity of Domain Stadium (43,500) limits the expansion of the club's membership.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs