AFL Northern Territory CEO, Stuart Totham has penned the below piece about why we need lights at Albrecht Oval in Alice Springs.
In 2018 there were 2,096 participants taking part in regular competition football in the Central Australia region and a further 2,613 in our dedicated Auskick and Thunder Junior programs in the area. These numbers directly contributed to the Northern Territory having the highest percentage of Australian Football participants per capita. Twenty per cent of our population participates in our great game, and so it is essential that we work together to ensure our programs and facilities can keep up with the growth.
Our recent Central Australia Footy Forums spoke specifically to the community’s desire for AFLNT to work with the local council and NT Government to make sure key facility needs and opportunities were being met. This sentiment was resonated in conversations at the CAFL launch, and so in conjunction with our broader AFLNT strategy, we are in full support of the Alice Springs Town Council installing lights at Albrecht Oval.
Lights will provide us with the opportunity to introduce new competitions in new timeslots. The youth girls mini-season has gone from strength to strength each year and is now at the point where the CAFL Management Committee is considering its full integration into the 2020 season as regular club-based football. Having lights at Albrecht will allow us to play back to back youth and women’s footy across multiple venues on a Friday evening.
Installing lights also opens us up to the possibility of introducing midweek junior footy when the oval is not being utilized for club training.
Lights will also provide a solid contingency plan so that when there are scheduling clashes at TIO Traeger Park or the ground is unavailable, like we saw a couple of weekends ago with the heavy rain, that we have an alternative venue with more timeslots to shift games to.
At AFLNT we also believe it would make for a great day at the footy if the junior divisions and reserves games led into showcase twilight games for the CAFL Men’s Senior division.
And for Alice Springs to host big NT-wide carnivals like the Michael Long Cup then access to more grounds with lights is essential to this piece.
We have ambitions to explore all of the above options and to do it soon, so that we can continue to meet the needs of the community who are showing us in large numbers that they are dedicated to footy.
- Stuart Totham