Darwin will see some of the best remote Territory football talent on display this weekend as the 2019 Quitline Regional Challenge Carnival takes place at TIO Stadium and the Marrara Cricket Ground.
The Challenge is a reinvigoration of the ‘NTFL Umpires’ Carnival’ which started in 1967 and was last held in 2010, and has had had 10 communities enter the 2019 event.
Please note on Friday 4 October Yuendumu had to withdraw from the Carnival, making it a nine-team event.
The 10 teams are from Bathurst Island, East Arnhem, Kalano Bombers from Katherine, Kalkarindji Eagles, Lajamanu, Maningrida All Stars, Miwatj Suns from Gove, Ngukurr Bulldogs, West Daly Magic and the Yuendumu Magpies, who will travel the furthest racking up over 1,000km’s to get to Darwin by bus.
Some well-known names have been named in the squads including former Gold Coast Suns and NT Thunder player Liam Patrick for Lajamanu, St Mary’s full forward Mathias Liddy for West Daly and remote football legend Keith Rogers from Ngukurr who at 58 still runs around the oval showing the young men how to play.
Cancer Council SA’s Quitline is the major sponsor, identifying the Carnival as a way to educate at-risk community participants about Quitline’s free phone and online support services to empower people to quit smoking.
AFL personality and Territorian Gilbert McAdam will be in attendance for the weekend as the Ambassador for the Carnival.
Teams will play four minor round games of two 15-minute halves on Saturday followed by finals on Sunday morning. All games will be played on TIO Stadium, TIO Oval 2 and the Marrara Cricket Ground (MCG) across the weekend making for easy access for players and spectators alike. The Grand Final will be played at TIO Stadium before the two TIO NTFL Men’s Premier League games, making for a thrilling day of Territory footy.
The winning team will receive $1,000 in prize money and be awarded free team registration into the next Regional Challenge.
The weekend will also provide umpire and coaching development opportunities with teams invited to bring an aspiring umpire and coach from their community to be part of the festivities and also receive formal training and qualifications while in Darwin.
AFLNT CEO Stuart Totham said he was thrilled that so many remote communities had committed to this inaugural Quitline Regional Challenge.
“We’re so excited to have these remote teams showcase their talent in Darwin to a whole new audience.
“If you are a footy fan there will be no better place to be over the weekend with this happening in conjunction with TIO NTFL Round 1, so I encourage everyone to get down to Marrara to catch all the action as there will be a real buzz around the stadium.
“We thank our major sponsor Quitline for their support of this initiative and for identifying that community footy is a unique spectacle and we extend our appreciation to all community partners supporting the initiative.” Totham said.
The first round begins at 9am on Saturday morning and Sunday’s Grand Final will be live-streamed on AFLNTv YouTube from 1pm. Please see full schedule here.
Quitline Regional Challenge Key Timings
Updated on Friday 4 October after Yuendumu withdrew.
Saturday 5 October
Round 1 – from 9:00am
Round 2 – from 10:15am
Round 3 – from 11:00am
Round 4 – from 1:00pm
Round 5 – from 3:30pm
Sunday 6 October
Qualifying Final – 10:30am
Elimination Final – 10:30am
Preliminary Final – 11:30am
Grand Final – 1:00pm and live-streamed on AFLNTv YouTube.