Central Australian footy fans also have something exciting to look forward to with the AFL today announcing the Round 14 game between Melbourne and St Kilda on Saturday 29 August at TIO Traeger Park.
It is the seventh consecutive year that the Demons will play for premiership points in Alice Springs, while Saints fans refer back to 1990 for the last time their team visited the NT to play a representative game.
Affectionately known as the 'Heart of the Nation' game, it will be the third AFL match in eight days for the NT, honouring the commitment the NT Government (NTG), AFL and clubs have to the region.
And like the two Darwin games, the Alice Springs fixture will be a night game (7:10pm ACST) and broadcast live to a national audience via the Seven Network (also available on Fox Footy, Kayo and via an AFL app Live Pass).
Toyota AFL Premiership Season
Melbourne vs St Kilda
Saturday 29 August – Round 14
TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs
Ticket details to be confirmed ASAP
Melbourne, who signed a four-year extension to its partnership with the NTG and AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) at the end of 2019, has shown a significant commitment to Central Australia.
The club plays a vital role in the community by assisting AFLNT in the delivery of talent and footy programs, as well as providing education and support to local coaches and professional development to AFLNT high-performance staff.
They are also well regarded for the work they do in promoting good eye health and for helping raise funds to re-grass Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa).
Both clubs have a touch of Territory with Steven May (Melbourne) and Ben Long (St Kilda) potential backline sightings.
Due to the AFL game and requirements for access to TIO Traeger Park and staffing, the first week of TIO CAFL town division finals will be delayed a week, while the final round of community competition games will also be delayed a week, meaning the seasons will now end on Saturday 19 September and Sunday 26 September, respectively.
Ticket on-sale information for the Alice Springs game will be communicated ASAP, but it is pending NT Health's sign-off on the AFLNT COVID Event Plan.
It is expected that there will be a reduced capacity, but once tickets are on sale the only authorised seller will be www.NTix.com.au. Those interested in corporate packages are encouraged to send an email to AFLNTEvents@afl.com.au so that an AFLNT representative can be in touch once the details are known.
Fans who wish to attend the game will need to adhere to all health and safety advice as directed by AFLNT or officials.
AFLNT CEO, Stuart Totham said;
"Our sincere thanks to the Northern Territory Government and the AFL for working together to ensure our footy fans in Central Australia also have the opportunity to attend the elite game in their backyard.
"We also extend our gratitude to Channel 7, who will showcase another aspect of our incredible Territory to a national audience.
"Over the past seven years, the Melbourne Football Club has built up a strong relationship with the community of Central Australia and are a vital partner when it comes to delivering positive outcomes across talent, coaching, game development, health and facilities.
"They have embraced the people and culture of Alice Springs and have provided many a spectacle along the way, winning over adoring fans and having a direct impact on young people's lives.
"We also welcome the St Kilda Football Club back to the NT; an exciting, young team on the road to success.
"Territorians now have three awesome AFL games in eight days to look forward to; we hope they will get amongst it, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the show."
Melbourne Football Club CEO, Gary Pert said;
“As a club, we’re really excited to be heading back to Alice Springs this season.
“We’ve developed a really strong connection with the community in the NT and I know the players love playing in front of the fans up there.
“TIO Traeger Park feels like a home ground for us, so it’s a great opportunity to get out there and showcase our game.
“We would also like to extend our thanks to the Northern Territory Government for hosting this game through such challenging times.”
AFL General Manager of Clubs and Broadcasting Travis Auld said it was fantastic to return football to Alice Springs, adding another game to the Northern Territory fixtures.
“Three AFL matches across eight days in the NT is a great way to showcase the Territory to a national audience and fantastic for local fans to have the opportunity to get to a match.” Mr Auld said.
“On behalf of the AFL, I would like to thank the NT Government for their ongoing commitment to football across the state. On the back of the two Darwin games it is fantastic to again play the Heart of the Nation game in Alice Springs.
“Our sincere thanks to the Seven Network who will hit the road immediately after the Dreamtime match in Round 13, and drive 1495km to Alice Springs to set up for the match a week later. Another great example of everyone in the industry working together to ensure the season continues.”
AFL General Manager Social Policy and Inclusion Tanya Hosch said it will be significant event to the local communities in and around Central Australia who we know love their footy.
“What a great opportunity for the Central Australian community to be able to attend the game and proudly showcase what has become known as the Heart of the Nation Game on Arrernte Country .” Ms Hosch said
“The Melbourne Football Club has done a fantastic job over the last number of years in engaging the local communities and further embedding footy into the region.”
NT Major Events CEO, Tim Watsford said;
"This month the Territory is Football Territory. Top End fans are gearing up to watch the Gold Coast SUNS take on Carlton at TIO Stadium, followed by the Dreamtime in Darwin game between Essendon and Richmond the next day. Now we have Red Centre fans able to watch world-class footy in their backyard thanks to the Alice Springs Melbourne v St Kilda fixture.
"That means, out of 18 AFL teams, six of them will be here in the Territory this month. This is an opportunity like no other for Territorians to watch world-class athletes at play, and for the Territory to play a starring role on the national football stage."