16 Oct 2019
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture
Territorians will continue to enjoy blockbuster AFL games, with the Territory Labor Government signing a new agreement that will see the Gold Coast Suns play a home game in Darwin and the Melbourne Demons continue to play in Alice Springs each season for the next four years.
The new deal will also see the Melbourne Demons Women’s team play a game in Alice Springs next year, with the Gold Coast Suns running talent academy camps in Darwin to identify local players with the potential to play for the Suns AFLW team once up and running.
Both clubs will also promote the Territory through their networks, encouraging supporters to visit or make the move here.
The away teams that will face off against the Suns in Darwin and the Demons in Alice will be announced in coming weeks as part of the 2020 AFL draw.
The Territory Labor Government will also maintain funding to AFLNT to support its plans for improved talent pathways and football community programs. This recognises that stronger foundations at the grassroots level, particularly in remote communities, will lead to more Territory players being chosen to play at elite levels.
Quotes from Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lauren Moss:
“Footy is a way of life in the Territory, playing a key role in keeping young people on a positive path and supporting stronger communities.
“This new agreement with AFL will see top quality games continue to be played in both Darwin and Alice Springs over the next four years, providing a boost to the local economy as well as supporting strong grassroots footy and clear pathways for Territory players looking to make it at elite levels.
“Both clubs have committed to working with the community to ensure their presence in the NT provides outcomes for the community beyond the games themselves. Melbourne will continue their great work in Central Australia and the Gold Coast Suns will roll out a series of grass roots focused football activities in the Top End.
“AFLNT’s new player pathways plan aligns with this new agreement and signals a new chapter for Territory footy. It will help uncover and develop talent across the Territory, giving aspiring young players more opportunities to play in the AFLW and AFL.
“AFL games help drive visitation, support our local businesses and boost the economy and we look forward to welcoming the Gold Coast Suns and the Melbourne Demons back to the Territory in 2020.”
Quotes from AFL Northern Territory Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Totham:
“We are very appreciative of the Northern Territory Government, AFL, Gold Coast and Melbourne football clubs for working with us on a plan that not only covers games here in the NT over the next five years but will deliver great community benefits and provide a boost to all the aspiring Territory footballers dreaming of making it the AFL and AFLW, while also driving growth in the game throughout the NT.
“At AFLNT, we are focused on increasing the number of AFL and AFLW players from the NT. The long-term commitment by the NTG, AFL and clubs to NT football will give us a solid platform from which we can broaden and grow our current talent base and facilitate the growth in the presence of NT players at the elite level.”
Quotes from Gold Coast SUNS Football Club, Chief Executive Officer, Mark Evans:
“We are thrilled to have Darwin confirmed as a Gold Coast SUNS Talent Academy Zone and to highlight our commitment to the region we are pleased to announce that we will play AFL games in Darwin.
“We share AFLNT’s vision of increasing participation and seeing more Northern Territory talent on AFL and AFLW lists and to drive this we have committed to delivering programs and creating pathways to foster talent and develop people.”
Quotes from Melbourne Football Club, Chief Executive Officer, Gary Pert:
“A lot of work goes into creating these opportunities, and being able to first inspire the youth, before providing a talent pathway through the Academy, is something we’re really passionate about.
“It’s more than just a game of football for our players, coaches and staff. Our trip to the nation’s heartland allows us to immerse ourselves in the community and really give back.
“We’re really proud of the meaningful contributions our Club makes to this region of Central Australia, from grassing a red dirt oval in Santa Teresa to eradicating the eye disease Trachoma through our player-led education programs.
“As we continue this work in 2020, we’d like to acknowledge the Northern Territory Government for its ongoing support of the game and also allowing us to have such a positive impact in the community.”
Media Contact: Lisa Sennett 0436 929 858