Territory AFL fans can look forward to three more years of top-flight footy in Darwin and Alice Springs thanks to a new agreement between the Northern Territory Government and AFL.
The agreement will see the Gold Coast SUNS play two games in Darwin each year from 2024-2026, while Melbourne Football Club will head to the Red Centre for a match each season.
In 2024, the Gold Coast SUNS will take on North Melbourne at TIO Stadium on Saturday, 11 May 2024.
This game will be followed by a clash between the SUNS and Geelong on Thursday, 16 May as part of the celebrated Sir Doug Nicholls Round. The Northern Territory has produced some of the game’s most skilled and revered Indigenous players, and the Indigenous round sees enthusiastic support from the Territory’s passionate footy fans.
Gold Coast SUNS CEO Mark Evans said they were thrilled to once again have the opportunity to host back-to-back home games at TIO Stadium in Darwin for the next three years. “The NT has become our second home and we have taken pride in our ability to make Darwin a fortress, where we play some of our best football,” he said.
Territorians will have the chance to witness some of their homegrown heroes live in action at TIO Stadium. “Whether it’s a dazzling Malcolm Rosas Jnr goal, Joel Jeffrey’s freakish athleticism, Ben Long’s signature toughness or Lloyd Johnston’s blistering speed, there will be plenty for the home crowd to cheer,” Mr Evans said.
In Central Australia, Melbourne Football Club will take on Fremantle at TIO Traeger Park on Sunday, 2 June, building on their strong relationship with the Red Centre community.
Melbourne Football Club CEO Gary Pert said the Heart of the Nation match is one they’re incredibly proud to be part of.
“We have been visiting Alice Springs for a decade now and, as a club, have developed such a strong connection to the region,” Mr Pert said. “We consider Traeger Park a home away from home, and our players love nothing more than when they get the opportunity to play there.
“We are looking forward to building on our meaningful relationships further in 2024, once again giving back and immersing ourselves in the local community. We can’t wait to bring our great game back to the Red Centre and give local fans another opportunity to see and meet their heroes.”
The games, supported through Northern Territory Major Events Company, form part of the Northern Territory Government’s commitment to bringing elite sport to the Territory.
The games also take place just before BASSINTHEGRASS hits Mindil Beach on Saturday, 18 May 2024, giving interstate footy fans even more reasons to head to the Territory.
As well as delivering a raft of community engagement opportunities, where Territory fans get to meet their footy heroes, the games also provide a reason for interstate AFL fans to travel with their teams. Once in the Territory, they can enjoy the unique tourism experiences on offer, and visit extraordinary locations such as Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks in the Top End, and the stunning waterholes found among the breathtaking MacDonnell Ranges around Alice Springs (Mparntwe).
AFL fans don’t have to wait until next year for a taste of footy fever, with the NAB AFLW Premiership Cup arriving in Darwin this week. The Cup will stop by the U10s Girls games at Moil Oval from 5.30-6.30pm on Wednesday, 15 November, the PINT Football Club Auskick at DXC Arena from 4.45-5.45pm on Thursday, 16 November, and the U18s Girls matches at TIO Stadium from 6-7pm on Friday, 17 November. The Cup heads to the Tiwi Islands for the first time on Saturday, 18 November, to attend footy matches at 11.45am and 1.45pm.
To find out when tickets for the Territory’s AFL games go on sale, follow NTMEC on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ntmec