AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) is pleased to release the 2019 Central Australian Football League (CAFL) fixtures for the upcoming season, with games scheduled at TIO Traeger Park from Round 1.
The latest advice from the Alice Springs Town Council and AFL turf experts is that it’s ready to be used but AFLNT has a contingency plan to move games should that status change at any time in the future. While the CAFL competition is a jewel in the AFLNT crown, the League’s priority is to ensure the oval is in top condition to host the blockbuster AFL game between Melbourne and the West Coast Eagles on Sunday 21 July.
All going to plan, Rovers and South women will kick off the 2019 season on Traeger Park on Friday 26 April before a grand final rematch the following Friday takes place when Alkamilya and Rovers meet for Round 2 action. It is the first season since 2015 that South Alice has entered a senior women's team.
This year will see the Women’s League come into line with the TIO Senior Men's with both competitions played over 15 home and away rounds followed by three weeks of finals.
The men start their season with the Josh Palmer Shield when Rovers meet South at Traeger Park on Saturday 27 April.
Federal fans won't have to wait long to see if their team can make amends for last season's missed premiership when they come up against Rovers in a Round 2 grand final rematch.
This year all competitions in the CAFL will have a finals format that sees the top four teams play a three-round finals series commencing on Friday 23 August for the women and Saturday 24 August for the men before the season culminates for both competitions on Saturday 7 September.
The Country League and Community Cup seasons will begin on Sunday 28 April and will be bigger than ever, with 14 games across the two divisions hosted in eight different communities around Central Australia, the furthest being Plenty Highway (Harts Range) which is 306 kilometres from Alice Springs.
The two new Community Cup teams, Mt Allan (Yuelamu) and the previously-registered Barkly Australian Football League team from Willowra, will each host a home game.
Each of the six Country League teams will also have a weekend to celebrate footy, with their Under 18 and senior men’s teams combining in back-to-back games to play host to one round of the home and away season.
The Country League and Community Cup divisions will run for 10 rounds with three weeks of finals, this year finishing with their Grand Final a weekend before the other CAFL divisions, on Sunday 1 September.
The big Country League grand final rematch between Papunya (McDonnell Districts) and Ti Tree will be played in Round 2 on Sunday 12 May at Traeger Park.
AFLNT Central Australian Community Football Manager Darryl Griffiths said a lot of hard work had gone into ensuring 2019 would see another great year of footy.
“Over the last few months, we have been working closely with clubs and other community stakeholders to come up with an exciting season of the CAFL.
“At the recent TIO Footy Forums, we received great feedback asking us to play more games in communities, which we have achieved. We also received requests to develop grassroots football, and we are extremely pleased to say that the work that our game development team did this year in running a pilot youth girls program, means we have every confidence that there will be a fully-fledged youth girls competition included in our program as part of the 2020 CAFL season.
“We encourage people to get down to Albrecht Oval tonight to see the finals of the youth girls, it is a great atmosphere and speaks volumes of the female talent coming out of our footy heartland.
“We will also continue to work diligently on some of the other ideas that came out of the forums so that we are constantly improving footy for the betterment of Central Australians,” he said.
The 2019 season will officially launch on Wednesday 17 April, and the CAFL’s night of nights, the Minahan Medal will take place on Wednesday 28 August.
KEY DATES & THEMED ROUNDS:
Season Launch – 6pm Wednesday 17 April on Mezzanine level of the Bowden McAdam Grandstand, TIO Traeger Park
Round 1 Josh Palmer Shield – Rovers v South 3.00pm Saturday 27 April at TIO Traeger Park
Round 2 Foster Webb Shield – Pioneer v South 3.00pm Saturday 4 May at Albrecht Oval
Round 5 Tony Cusack Shield – South v Federal 3.00pm Saturday 25 May at Albrecht Oval
2019 Toyota AFL Round 18 – Melbourne vs West Coast Eagles – 2.50pm Sunday 21 July at TIO Traeger Park
Minahan Medal – Wednesday 28 August, venue and further details TBC
2019 CAFL GRAND FINAL DATES:
CAFL Women’s - Saturday 7 September
TIO Senior Men’s - Saturday 7 September
Reserves – Saturday 7 September
Under 15 Boys – Saturday 7 September
Under 18 Boys – Saturday 7 September
Country League Senior Men’s – Sunday 1 September
Country League Under 18s – Sunday 1 September
Community Cup – Sunday 1 September