VU High Performance Centre at Whitten Oval unveiled

VU Remedial Massage Student Maddison Baker, VU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Impact) Professor Andy Hill, Western Bulldogs Executive Director Football Chris Grant and PhD student Hannah Dower.
Victoria University has been unveiled as the naming rights partner of the Western Bulldogs’ revamped high performance centre at Whitten Oval.
Wednesday 29 November 2023

Strengthening VU’s position as a leader in sport, the elite training base at Whitten Oval will be known as the Victoria University High Performance Centre.

The VU High Performance Centre will provide VU students with unparalleled opportunities to embed with the Western Bulldogs high-performance team through work-integrated learning placements – particularly those studying the Graduate Certificate in Strength and Conditioning.

The new facilities, which have been made possible by the Bulldogs’ redevelopment of the Whitten Oval precinct, will include an endurance heat chamber, cardio mezzanine, hydrotherapy zone (pool, spa, sauna), state-of-the-art medical facilities and unrivalled player change and recreation areas deliberately designed for the modern, elite athlete journey.

The gym is six times the size of the previous space, and the largest in the AFL. A 50m by 35m indoor training field with synthetic grass with glass reinforced roof mimics playing conditions.

VU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Impact Professor Andy Hill said the facility will provide incredible experiences for VU students and researchers.

“VU is incredibly proud to be associated with the Western Bulldogs and supporting the Club in all aspects of performance. The VU High Performance Centre will have many obvious benefits to the players, but also for our students and researchers,” Professor Hill said.

“Whether it’s placements in remedial massage or physio, or undertaking specific research projects in collaboration with players and Western Bulldogs staff – these unique opportunities are significant contributors to VU being a leader in sports.”

Western Bulldogs Executive Director of Football Chris Grant said the Club’s football department was thrilled to be working in an elite training facility at its home base.

“We have been eagerly awaiting the completion of the new Victoria University High Performance Centre at Whitten Oval, which will completely transform the way we are able to look after our male and female athletes,” he said.

“We have enjoyed a fantastic partnership with VU over a long period of time, and we’re excited to know that their investment in our program continues to elevate.

“The practical integration we’ve been able to facilitate with VU has helped our players and staff, along with providing students with the invaluable experience of being part of our program.”

VU and the Western Bulldogs originally partnered up in the 1980s, in one of the longest-standing relationships for both organisations.  The partnership was renewed this year for a further five years.

VU and Western Bulldogs partnership in numbers:

  • 58 students completed work-integrated learning within the Western Bulldogs (including the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation) in 2023, from a range of courses including Exercise Science, Sport Management, Business, Psychology, Criminal Justice, Youth Work, Screen Media, Teaching and Remedial Massage.
  • Three physiotherapy students conducting cadetships with the Bulldogs in both the AFL and AFLW teams.
  • Joint-funded sports science role and four PhD students.
  • 17 pre-services teachers (VU students) delivered the Bulldogs Friendly Schools Program to nine schools in 2023.
  • Eight students per year complete massage cadetships with the AFL team.
  • Around 20 students perform massage treatment on AFL, AFLW, VFL and VFLW players once per week.