The Miwatj Health Gove Australian Football League (GAFL) is up and running for season 2020, with Round 1 delivering exciting games this past weekend.
In just two years the competition has doubled, and the GAFL welcomes three new teams to the men's division in 2020; the Datjala Tigers, Groote Stingrays and Nhulunbuy Saints.
After playing half of the 2019 season, Gapuwiyak is the fourth addition to this year's competition. They're here on a full-time basis and will be ready to roll from Round 2 after some logistical issues prohibited the team from taking the field in Round 1.
Download the 2020 Miwatj Health GAFL fixture here (PDF version)
The Datjala Tigers is drawn from the Datjala Work Camp, a minimum-security correctional facility. As such, it is made up of men from all over the NT. It is their first time involved in the GAFL, and it is hoped that their inclusion will produce positive outcomes on their players' social, emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.
The Groote Stingrays has come about off the back of a lot of hard work and collaboration from local groups. They will play half the season, a total of seven of 14 games, with four games in Gove, one in Gapuwiyak and two at home on the island.
In order to make it to their away games, the team is reliant on the generous support from the Groote Eylandt Aboriginal Trust (GEAT) and Anindilyakwa Land Council (ALC) to help charter planes.
The Nhulunbuy Saints return to the competition after a two-year hiatus and are made up of a large playing force given that many of them are shift workers and not always available to pull on the boots.
View the Round 1 2020 Miwatj Health GAFL results here (PDF version)
In Round 1 news, the reigning back-to-back premiers, Nguykal from Yirrkala had a great win over the Saints, sounding its intent to make it a three-peat.
The other team from Yirrkala, Djarrak will be looking forward to their first game after Gapuwiyak forfeited on the weekend. Djarrak has had big numbers at training and sure to contend for this year's title.
Gopu, from Gunyangara (Ski Beach), had a big first-round win over another of the new teams, Datjala and have bolstered their list in 2020.
Baywara (from Birritjimi), who had a bye in Round 1, has received more administrative support in the off-season and will be looking to improve on their fortunes this year.
The women’s GAFL competition is planned to commence on Friday 14 August with teams currently putting in the hard work on the training track.