AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) looks forward to welcoming the Melbourne Football Club back to the Northern Territory (NT) next season for two games that are sure to delight AFL fans.
This will be Melbourne’s tenth consecutive year of playing a home game in the NT and it’s with thanks to the Northern Territory Government (NTG) and AFL, who have worked hard with AFLNT and Melbourne FC to sign a one-year agreement covering 2019.
In today’s special announcement made ahead of the AFL’s full fixture release, Melbourne will play a home match in Darwin and Alice Springs for the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.
2019 Toyota AFL Premiership Season
Round 11 – TIO Stadium, Darwin – Melbourne vs Adelaide Crows, Saturday 1 June at 7:10pm ACST
Round 18 – TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs – Melbourne vs West Coast Eagles, Sunday 21 July at 2:50pm ACST
It will be the fifth successive home game at TIO Traeger Park after Melbourne played Port Adelaide in the first home and away game in Alice Springs in 2014.
And next year will mark the tenth consecutive season Melbourne has played a home game at TIO Stadium in Darwin.
AFLNT CEO Stuart Totham said the mouth-watering AFL games set down for the NT next year would put big smiles on people’s faces.
"When Melbourne come to Central Australia and the Top End, the community gets excited. And as we've seen over the past few years the games sell out, fans flock to the public appearances and our grassroots programs continue to benefit from having an elite team invested in the Northern Territory.
“There is no underestimating the impact these games have, especially on those from the furthest and most remote communities, who are left inspired after being in proximity to their heroes.
"The improvement of the Melbourne Football Club over the past couple of seasons is a drawcard in itself, but next year the fixtures are especially tantalising, with the reigning premiers, the West Coast Eagles, due for their first game in the Red Centre in more than six years, and the ever-popular Adelaide Crows travelling back to Darwin in June.
"There are a few names amongst these teams that are synonymous with the NT; May, Jetta, Rioli, McAdam, Betts and the superstars of our modern game like Gawn, Jones and Viney just to name a few, so we are thankful to the NTG, Melbourne Football Club and AFL for bringing our great game to the Territory once more,” he said.
Melbourne Football Club CEO Gary Pert said the club was looking forward to continuing its involvement and contribution to the NT community in 2019.
“Playing AFL games in the Northern Territory not only allows us to showcase our great game in some of the most unique parts of the nation, but also provides the opportunity for the locals to see their heroes play,” Pert told Melbourne Media.
Melbourne has had a strong presence in the region over the years, supporting several Northern Territory-based initiatives, such as the education of Indigenous eye health and Trachoma disease.
The club also partners with the Redtails and Pinktails; representative football teams that engages players from across Central Australia.
“We are extremely proud of the community work we have conducted in Alice Springs, Darwin and surrounding communities over a long period of time,” Pert said.
“The Redtails and Pinktails partnership is one we value, with the initiative aiming to provide health and educational programs for Indigenous players, to achieve better social outcomes.
“We are really looking forward to building on this work and these initiatives in the future.”
AFL General Manager of Clubs and Broadcasting, Travis Auld, said he was delighted to have the two matches feature again next year.
“Australian Football is a national game and we’re pleased to confirm that the Northern Territory, specifically Darwin and Alice Springs, will again host two of Melbourne’s 2019 home matches,” Auld said.
“Continuing to schedule matches in the Northern Territory cements the AFL’s commitment to inspire the next generation of men’s and women’s players by giving them the opportunity to see the best players up close.
“I’d like to extend our thanks to the Northern Territory Government for their continued support of AFL, and the Melbourne Football Club for commitment to these matches.”
Minister for Tourism and Culture, the Hon. Lauren Moss said big sporting events were part of the Territory way of life.
“Territorians love their footy and seeing big games like this live is a real boost for Territory lifestyle, which is so important in keeping people living in the NT.
“Top level games also increase active participation, deliver a boost for tourism and keep the Territory firmly on the national sporting radar.
“It’s great to welcome the Demons back to the Territory,” she said. On-sale ticket dates for both games will be advised in due course.