AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) looks forward to two exciting Toyota AFL Premiership season matches on Territory soil next year, when the Melbourne Football Club meet the Adelaide Crows in Alice Springs in May before the Gold Coast SUNS plays St Kilda in Darwin in June.
Sunday 17 May 2020 will mark the Demons' seventh successive year of playing games for premiership points in Alice Springs, which aligns with the announcement made a fortnight ago around Melbourne's commitment to the Central Australian region.
Coming up against the Crows in the NT for a third-straight year, the last time the two met in the Red Centre was in front of a near-capacity crowd in Round 10 of the 2018 season. It was a memorable day for Demons fans, with their team running away 91-point victors.
The Round 9 game to be played at TIO Traeger Park will once again fall in line with the AFL's Sir Doug Nicholls Round with a celebration of Indigenous culture and contribution to the game of Australian Football to feature as part of the plans.
Meanwhile, TIO Stadium in Darwin is sure to be abuzz on Saturday 13 June when fans are treated to a Round 13 showdown between the GC SUNS and St Kilda.
It will be the first time the GC SUNS have played in Darwin for premiership points since 2012, and with the club's involvement in the region only growing the game is sure to be a fun occasion for the wider community.
It will be 30 years since St Kilda made a trip to the NT with the Saints' last game played at Gardens Oval in January 1990 when they came up against a star-studded NTFL representative side that was captained by one of St Kilda's own players but a Territorian first, Russell Jeffrey.
The two teams met twice in 2019 with their first game decided by only a point and the second by four points.
Today's 2020 NAB AFL Women's fixture announcement also earmarks Saturday 14 March as the date locals can get their elite women's footy fix when Melbourne host Carlton at TIO Traeger Park in Alice Springs.
It will be the Demons' second trip to Alice Springs since the AFLW started in 2017.
AFLNT CEO Stuart Totham said it was going to be busy but fun for footy fans.
"With thanks to the NT Government, the AFL, Melbourne and Gold Coast SUNS football clubs we have some action-packed footy months to look forward to next year.
"The AFLW game between Melbourne and Carlton is perfectly timed to get Central Australian footy fans excited ahead of the next CAFL season. It does fall on the same day as our TIO NTFL grand finals in Darwin, so that will present some challenges but the AFLNT team across Darwin and Alice Springs will work hard to make them both spectacles.
"We also know there are plenty of Melbourne and Adelaide fans who have turned up for the past two years to see their teams battle it out here in the NT, so we expect another capacity crowd in Alice Springs come May.
"Up in Darwin, it's refreshing to have two teams who have not played here in a long time and if their games this year are anything to go by then we're in for a thriller," he said.
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lauren Moss spoke to the impact elite games have.
“Territorians love their footy, and the Territory Labor Government loves bringing big games to the Territory.
“Footy is more than just a game here; it’s also an important way to keep kids on a positive path and supports strong and vibrant communities. The spinoffs for the economy and local jobs through visitation to the NT are also significant.
“The new deal with the SUNS and the Demons will also support AFLNT’s new player pathways plan, which will focus on uncovering and developing talent right across the Territory and ultimately get Territory talent on AFL and AFLW lists.
“This is an exciting new chapter in Territory football," she said.
2020 Northern Territory AFL fixture details
Melbourne vs Carlton
Saturday 14 March – Round 6
TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs
Toyota AFL Premiership Season
Melbourne vs Adelaide
Sunday 17 May – Round 9
TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs
Gold Coast SUNS vs St Kilda
Saturday 13 June – Round 13
TIO Stadium, Darwin