NT AFL team to be scoped out

Eddie Betts in action at TIO Stadium

AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) welcomes an investment by the Northern Territory Government to complete a scoping study into a Northern Territory based AFL team.

The Territory Labor Government (NTG) has announced it will allocate $100,000 towards a ‘scoping study’ to position the NT for an AFL team license when one becomes available.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner and AFLNT CEO Stuart Totham met with AFL CEO Gil McLachlan in Melbourne earlier this week to discuss the plan.

The NTG and the AFL will now work together on the key focus areas of the ‘scoping study’ but it is expected to include sponsorship opportunities and local talent pathways.

Other topics discussed at the meeting included ongoing games by AFL clubs in Darwin and Alice Springs, growing the investment and presence of the AFL clubs who run academies in the NT and the strength of the NT Thunder Football Club.

AFLNT CEO Stu Totham said the organisation was excited by the possibilities that lay ahead.

“We are extremely passionate about our game and continuing its growth, so the NTG and AFL’s commitment to this same agenda and their willingness to explore these ideas further is most pleasing.

“Football is the fabric of life in the NT, it has a real positive social impact in the community and provides many people with a positive and rewarding experience.

“As an organisation, AFLNT remains focused on providing the best opportunities for our young men and women to reach the elite level and we expect that the outcomes of this study will have a profound impact on AFLNT’s talent and team strategy moving forward.

“We’re keen to get the project up and running and to be clear on what needs to be done to one day secure an AFL license,” he said.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said having an NT based AFL team would bring many benefits to the Territory.

“We want to attract more people to live in the Territory, create local jobs and to make Darwin the capital of Northern Australia and having our own AFL team will help achieve these things.

“It might be 10-years until an AFL license becomes available but we need to be prepared so that we are in the conversation. This scoping study will help us be ready and show we are serious.

“We believe that a Northern Territory AFL team would provide a valuable and exciting point-of-difference in the competition and would result in more locals playing, coaching and working at the highest level.

“We know from our meeting with the AFL that winning a license is not going to happen right now, but if we plan and prepare well we will have a real chance in the future.”