More Blockbuster AFL Games Set For the Territory 16 October 2019 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. AFL Northern Territory Chief Executive Officer Stuart Totham said the new agreement was great news for football in the Northern Territory. “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 Northern Territory 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,” he said. Gold Coast Football Club Chief Executive Officer Mark Evans said he was thrilled to have Darwin confirmed as a Gold Coast Suns Talent Academy Zone. “To highlight our commitment to the region, we are pleased to announce that we will play AFL games in Darwin,” he said. “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.” Melbourne Football Club Chief Executive Officer Gary Pert acknowledged the Northern Territory Government for its ongoing support of the game, allowing the club to have such a positive impact in the community. “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,” he said.