The 2019/20 TIO NTFL season will begin in a little over seven weeks and first up is a primetime grand final rematch between Nightcliff and Southern Districts at TIO Stadium on Saturday 5 October.
It’s just one of the many highlights of an exciting Men’s Premier League fixture that AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) has released today.
Download a PDF version of the 2018/19 TIO NTFL Men’s Premier League fixture here. *Updated on 28 August*
From Freds Pass to Bathurst Island, a total of seven venues will host Men’s Premier League action this season with every team playing 18 games each in the home and away rounds before a top-five finals series culminates in the grand final on Saturday 14 March 2020.
After a series of club meetings and collaboration sessions as well as the fan feedback survey at the end of the 2018/19 season, AFLNT’s community football department worked tirelessly to deliver the different key priorities each club presented, while keeping the overall fan experience front of mind.
In a special event, Round 7 has been earmarked as Indigenous Round and will see the Darwin Buffaloes Football Club and Wanderers Football Club begin a new tradition; the ‘Nungalinya Game’. With both clubs holding important connections and history to the Larrakia country and the Bagot and Belyuen communities, they have been granted permission to use the term ‘Nungalinya’; the place where the Larrakia spirit comes from the Earth and goes into mothers’ bellies, and life for the Larrakia commence. It has been described as the beginning and the end, where the spirit returns after life.
In addition to the ‘Nungalinya Game’, AFLNT has recognised that the two clubs along with St Mary’s do not get a home venue and therefore do not get to host home games. Thus, any profits made at TIO Stadium on Saturday 16 November for Round 7 will be split between the three clubs.
The Tiwi Bombers will play four home games on the Island and a fifth at Tracy Village, while Nightcliff, Palmerston and Southern Districts have all been allocated five home games. Waratah has six home games at the historic Gardens Oval, its extra match a result of a unique activation in Round 10 that will celebrate the Great Air Race.
This season there will be a total of 15 Premier League tripleheaders at TIO Stadium, up from 11 last season. It accounts for eight men’s only Premier League tripleheaders and seven tripleheaders that will include a Women’s Premier League fixture between two men’s games.
There are five games scheduled for a Friday night, two more than 2018/19. And with lights projects at both Gardens Oval and PSC BM Oval in Nightcliff expected to commence shortly, the fixture is flexible enough to accommodate night games at both venues should the opportunity arise.
AFLNT Manager of Community Football, Rosanna De Santis said she was pleased with the fixture and believed it would deliver another big season of competitive NTFL action.
“We’d like to thank the clubs and fans for their input this season, it’s been great hearing from so many passionate people, and we believe we’ve been able to harness the majority of the feedback to deliver the first fixture today.
“The fans told us that they wanted to see more women’s and men’s premier league games run together, and so having seven instances of that this season is something to look forward to. They also told us that they wanted as many club aligned fixtures as possible, and that is what we are now working on achieving in the background for Women’s Premier League, Division 1 and where possible, Under 18s,” she said.
Most clubs have an even spread of allocated times, except for the Tiwi Bombers who travel to Darwin for the majority of their games.
“When the Bombers travel to Darwin we usually schedule them into the early afternoon game to allow them time to get back to the Islands, but we also recognise that the grand final is traditionally a night fixture, so we have provided all clubs with at least three opportunities to play in a 7pm timeslot throughout the season.
“As well as the Buffs and Wanderers campaigning to have the Nungalinya Game we heard theirs and St Mary’s concerns about not getting the benefits of a home fixture and have established Round 7 as their opportunity to simulate that experience and enjoy any profits made on the day.
“Palmerston also approached us about having earlier home games to allow for greater use of their social space, of which we are pleased to accommodate, and Nightcliff, Districts and Waratah all have a fair share of home games at a time suited to them.”
To-date there are seven themed rounds assigned for the season, beginning in Round 1 with TIO, whose partnership extends beyond the naming rights of the NTFL and will hit a 30-year collaboration with Territory football in 2020. (And occurs in their 40th celebration year)
Umpiring Round returns in its traditional Round 3 slot, an opportunity for players and spectators alike to recognise the hard work and dedication showed by the NTFL’s 15th club, the umpiring group.
In addition to the new Indigenous Round (as detailed above), the NTFL and Towards Zero will partner again in Round 8 to deliver important road safety messages before the holiday period.
Round 10 sees the important inclusion of the Great Air Race Round, which pays respect to 100 years since Ross and Keith Smith received international acclaim and made aviation history for piloting the first successful flight to Australia from Great Britain in just 28 days. Landing in Darwin on 10 December 1919 with their mechanics James Bennett and Walter Shiers, their incredible performance remains one of the greatest achievements in aviation history.
At the same time as their revolutionary flight was approaching Darwin, it is believed a game of footy was being played between Waratah and Wanderers at Gardens Oval, so in partnership with Northern Territory Major Events Company, AFLNT is pleased to mark the centenary celebration across the NTFL.
Waratah and Wanderers will meet again for Round 15’s Heritage Round where their annual Foundation Cup is sure to pull another big crowd on Australia Day while traditional rivals will go head-to-head right across the League.
And AFLNT is pleased to continue partnering with the NOMORE Campaign for Round 17, highlighting the important role football has to play in promoting positive family, community and social behaviour.
Fixtures for the other senior divisions, including the TIO NTFL Women’s Premier League, will be released at the end of next week.
2019/20 Men's Premier League fixture comparison
2019/20 themed rounds
- Round 1 - TIO Round
- Round 3 - Umpiring Round
- Round 7 - Indigenous Round
- Round 8 - Road Safety Round
- Round 10 - Great Air Race Round
- Round 15 - Heritage Round
- Round 17 - No More Round