Delay to best-laid plans

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 06 November 2012 | 14.43

Essendon CEO Ian Robson says the ovals will be ready in January. Source: Herald Sun

ESSENDON will not start using its freshly laid training ovals until January.

Chairman David Evans predicted in August the players would be training at an MCG-sized oval at Tullamarine by the middle of this month, but the plans have been delayed.

Chief executive Ian Robson is confident the turf is settling after a wet winter.

"What might have been a couple of sessions pre-Christmas now will be a first week of January," he said.

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Robson denied there had been major issues with the turf, but said it needed time.

"We're all very impatient in football. We'd like to roll it out today and train on it tomorrow, but it needs time to bed down," he said.

"We are keen to find our feet on the oval, bearing in mind we are still confronting the issue (at Windy Hill) of a co-tenancy with a cricket team."

The Bombers will use a mixture of venues before Christmas, including Windy Hill, The Tan, Victoria Park, Gosch's Paddock and Aberfeldie athletics track.

When the Bombers do start training at their new Tullamarine base, they will be changing in portables as construction gears up.

The club is looking forward to the certainty of its own pre-season base.

"There's no denying there's a certain beauty and feel that comes from a location that is predictable and secure," Robson said.

"What we're delivering is a long-term solution to address some of the challenges we've been facing at Windy Hill because of the historical co-tenancy with cricket."

It is possible the Bombers will be able to move mid-season in 2013 if the building of the training centre adjacent to the oval goes to plan.

Essendon's Etihad Stadium-sized oval on the same site is at least a fortnight behind the MCG-sized ground, which had been planned as it was sown more conventionally.

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