Location :

Officer, VIC

Client :

Cardinia Shire Council

Year :


Sector :

Natural Turf | Synthetic Turf | Rugby | Touch Football | Cricket | AFL | Soccer

This multi-use sporting precinct provides a central community hub in the growing suburb of Officer, in the south-eastern corridor of Melbourne. Two rectangular natural turf pitches were designed for rugby, touch football, cricket and have AFL ability. An adjacent multi-use synthetic court facilitates 5 lanes of cricket nets, using retractable netting, which can also be used for small-sided soccer games.


Comely Banks Recreation Reserve faced significant challenges in planning an optimal playing surface for its Fields of Play due to the high wear and tear associated with natural turf.


The need to extend the grounds' usability, particularly during winter, posed a difficulty for the community, as managing the surface over wetter and cooler months became a complex task.


Additionally, being a green field site, the project required large volumes of cut and fill, necessitating careful consideration for both cost-effectiveness and environmental impact.


To address the challenges, SPORTENG implemented a comprehensive solution by designing an extensive drainage network.

This network, coupled with a full-depth root zone sand profile playing surface, effectively managed moisture retention and drainage, ensuring the surface's resilience against high levels of activity throughout the year. The integration of a fully automated irrigation system further contributed to the surface's success, promoting healthy turf.


To tackle the cut and fill issue, SPORTENG specified using locally stockpiled site materials, delivering a balanced cut and fill for the project. This strategic decision not only minimized the need for additional engineered fill but also resulted in both cost savings and environmental benefits.


As part of the overall solution, SPORTENG also took on the design of the facility's carpark, incorporating bio-retention swales. These swales played a crucial role in facilitating speedy run-off and treating stormwater, enhancing the overall environmental sustainability of the project.


The forward-thinking design also considered the future expansion plans of the Reserve, allowing for the construction of two lawn bowls greens.


The implementation of SPORTENG's solutions yielded significant positive outcomes for Comely Banks Recreation Reserve.

The enhanced drainage network and playing surface design ensured the grounds could withstand high levels of activity throughout the year, extending usability, particularly in challenging weather conditions.

The fully automated irrigation system contributed to the maintenance of a healthy turf, further reinforcing the success of the playing surface.


Pakenham Eels Rugby League Club President Jason Buchanan said: “It’s pretty incredible to see the facility we now have, but it’s taken a lot of work from a lot of people for a long time to get to this stage. […] The opportunities that it’s going to provide, not just to the club and club development, but to the players themselves and their sporting development, are quite exciting. […] From an overall club perspective, this is huge; it’s a big win for us and for the community as well. There’s a lot of opportunity for Rugby League and Touch Football in Pakenham and the Cardinia Shire as a result of this facility being built.”
Source: Eels have a place to call home


Cardinia Shire Mayor Councillor Jeff Springfield added: “Council is thrilled to provide our shire and its residents with state-of-the-art facilities to help accommodate our growing sporting community, as well as a brand-new multipurpose pavilion to give community members greater access to and use of the new reserve.”
Source: Construction starts at Comely Banks Reserve

Video credits Evergreen Turf Group