RICHMOND would consider playing games at Punt Rd Oval again if a proposed 40,000-seat stadium is built at the iconic site, Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale says.
In the wake of Eddie McGuire's proposal last week that a 60,000-seat stadium be built at the Hisense Arena site, Richmond has proposed a new 40,000-seat stadium be built at its Punt Rd headquarters as an alternative third Melbourne venue that would not require the sale of Etihad Stadium.
Richmond's proposal has essentially revived AFL plans from 2013 for an 18,000-seat stadium at Punt Rd, albeit on a far larger scale.
Gale told SEN radio on Friday morning that Richmond would not have considered playing at Punt Rd under the 2013 plans, but would do so if a 40,000-seat stadium were built.
"With the last few weeks [a Punt Rd redevelopment] has been put back on the agenda by Eddie principally, which I think is great," Gale said.
"We've said we've got to put this back on the agenda and explore the possibility of a larger venue.
"If that was the case, then we'd be very much in the frame (to play games there)."
Richmond played its home games at Punt Rd Oval from 1908-64 before relocating to the MCG.
Gale told News Corp that if the AFL decided to explore a third stadium in Melbourne the Tigers wanted Punt Rd to be considered as a possible site.
"We are in the process of developing a master plan for this precinct," Gale said.
"Back in 2013, (former AFL CEO Andrew) Demetriou was the driver of this and the attraction for them was having a lower capacity, lower cost stadium for smaller fixtures.
"And also stadium economics and finances are the biggest driver of disparity of wealth (among clubs) and we could try to address that by having a third venue.
"So, Andrew said, 'Would you be interested in having a look at it for Punt Rd?'
"Punt Rd should be in the frame. It's an existing venue, it wouldn't require the selling of Etihad, and the Richmond railway station has been [on] the agenda for a number of years and maybe this gives the government the opportunity to redevelop that."
The AFL's 2013 plans for an 18,000-seat stadium at Punt Rd were costed at about $180 million. The Tigers' upgraded blueprint could cost nearly $400 million.
The crowd looks on during a practice game between Richmond and Essendon in 2014. Picture: AFL Media
McGuire's proposed 'Victoria Stadium', which would feature a retractable roof, is expected to cost about $1 billion, and its funding model is dependent on the AFL selling Etihad Stadium.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has been briefed on McGuire's plans and has expressed in-principle support. The Tigers have yet to discuss their plans with the government but Gale is optimistic that the state would contribute to the redevelopment costs.
"The economic impact of this game is huge – $3 billion, half a million members, how many fans are there in Victoria?" Gale said.
"This game is a huge driver of this economy. And I think we're entitled to question the extent our government invests in football relative to other states."
Gale also supported the retention of Etihad Stadium, saying it would be a "huge asset" for the AFL and its clubs when the League assumed ownership in 10 years' time.
"It's going to be worth $1 billion and we've got an 18th share in that in 2026," he said.