AFL 2023: Naming Rights Debate On New Geelong Stand; Doug Wade

One of Geelong’s greats has urged decision-makers to honor the club’s players when they name a new $250m booth, rather than backing the state government’s plans for a historic name.

Debate is raging over proposals for naming rights to Geelong Football Club’s soon-to-open North Stand.

The two-story, 14,000-person capacity stand (scheduled to open mid-season) will complete Kardinia Park’s redevelopment after a contribution of approximately $250 million from the Victoria State Government alone.

The area and ground are controlled by the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust, a body that recently solicited suggestions from the public for possible names for the new stand (the trust could not be reached for comment Friday).

Two early favorites emerged in recently retired captain Joel Selwood and club rescuer and former president Frank Costa.

And while both of these names enjoy widespread public support, a third proposal has emerged with strong government support in the form of Djilang, the original indigenous name for Geelong as used by the Wadawurrung tribe in the early 19th century.

Doug Wade, the man who has scored the most goals on the ground (413), would be happy to see Costa or Selwood recognized in this way.

“I would not support Djilang. And I see a problem in naming it after one person because you miss so many others. Maybe The Legends works because it encompasses everyone,” said Wade, 81.

Cameron Ling, 41, captained Geelong into the 2011 AFL Premiership and was part of a player collective that pushed for a stand to be called The Players.

“I think individuals can and should be recognized in the stands, but for the stands proper I prefer a more altruistic approach,” Ling said.


When it comes to Geelong, legendary full forward Doug Wade is better placed than anyone to comment on potential naming rights.

Wade, 81, who scored a record 419 goals at Kardinia Park for the Cats between 1961 and 1972 (Gary Ablett Sr. 391) and then was a longtime board member of the club, was awarded a booth in 2005. Seven years later, the Doug Wade Stand was demolished to make way for the Players Stand.

YES: You must have seriously stuffed Doug for the football club to take that attitude away from you?.

DW: (Laugh). No, nothing like that. The club was actually very good with it and there are no negative feelings. I’ve never been more comfortable with a stand anyway given the great players Geelong had. And I ended up with a goal.

YES: A gate. I remember Gary Ablett Sr once chuckling when he said he thought his 1031 goals for Geelong deserved more than the Gary Ablett Terrace.

DW: Gary might be right, especially considering the name has appeared twice in five decades with him and his son.

YES: What’s the name of the new booth, Doug? Joel Selwood’s stand, Frank Costa’s stand or Djilang?

DW: what was the last

YES: Djilang is the traditional indigenous name for Geelong.

DW: Definitely not Jilang. Of the other two, I think Frank Costa, although Joel Selwood is the best AFL captain, player, and person I’ve seen in my life.

YES: I’m surprised by your love for Selwood?

DW: I wouldn’t mind if it was Joel Selwood. It’s just players, how do you decide between Selwood, Matthew Scarlett, or one of the Gary Abletts?

YES: Isn’t that the same with an admin/president like Frank Costa?

DW: Fair point considering what men like Jack Jennings and Ron Hovey have done for the club, or the financial kindness of benefactor Alex Popescu.

YES: So give me a name?

DW: Alright, I will go to the Legends booth for all the legends that play a part in a wonderful football club.

YES: One that can go back to back?

DW: History says it’s very difficult, but I have to admit that I didn’t know what a good player Jeremy Cameron was. And I love Patrick Dangerfield, who I think was clearly the best on floor in the 2022 Grand Final.

Originally published as AFL 2023: The great Geelong Doug Wade chimes in as debate rages over the new stand’s naming rights AFL 2023: Naming Rights Debate On New Geelong Stand; Doug Wade

Ryan Sederquist

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