Council to help Bendigo Spirit in home final bid

BENDIGO council and Bendigo Stadium have thrown their support behind the Bendigo Bank Spirit in their bid for championship glory.

As the Spirit prepare to face-off with Dandenong in this weekend's second semi-final, Bendigo mayor Lisa Ruffell declared council would help secure the opportunity to host the WNBL grand final if the Spirit made it.

“It would be tragic for the Spirit and the team’s supporters if they did qualify to host the final but it had to be played in Melbourne," she said.

“The City of Greater Bendigo will make a contribution towards the cost of the extra grandstands if they’re needed and I urge all businesses to consider whether they could assist the Spirit by contributing in some way.”

Council has tipped-in $10,000 towards the extra 1200 seats, while Bendigo Stadium has added $25,000.

The additional seats will cost about $60,000 to transport from Melbourne, setup and take down after the game.

In January, Basketball Australia cast doubt of a home grand final for the Spirit citing a number of factors including capacity at the Bendigo Stadium.

Basketball Australia said a WNBL grand final venue must seat at least 3000 people. The Bendigo Stadium - which has hosted Commonwealth Games basketball and many other international games – has a capacity of 2000.

“Bendigo Stadium is such a great regional facility and the Spirit won 11 of their 12 games there during the regular season – so we have to make sure they play a grand final there if they qualify,” Cr Ruffell said.

Federal Liberal Party candidate for Bendigo Greg Bickley has pledged $2000 towards the additional seating.

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