From the CEO; the current state of play

Under 15s CAFL action

We hope that you are all continuing to stay safe as the COVID-19 restrictions start to ease in the Territory. 

It has been important for all of us to get back to eating out at pubs and restaurants, as well as enjoying camping and fishing – including being able to get back on the training track.

Our sport continues to face tough challenges as we navigate our way back to the playing field.

Our State of Play is best described in three Phases: 

  • Phase 1 – March to May. AFL was shut down at the end of March; including our staff, all competitions, programs and events; however remote NT programs continued to function safely
  • Phase 2 – June to September. The AFL announced that the 2020 season would recommence from 11 June.  Some AFLNT staff will be stood up to deliver activity for Community Football commencement, game development and MLLLC, however most of our AFLNT staff are still on stand down and to be brought back when activity resumes
  • Phase 3 – September onward. We will be actively working on a redesign of our operating models within our organisation to be finalised by end September which means we will spend the next few months evaluating our operations and priorities.

Planned return of Community Footy, AFLNT programs & AFL games

  • Community Footy – we have been working with TIO CAFL, BAFL and BRFL clubs to garner feedback; all clubs are now able to train so long as they follow COVID-19 protocols. Refer to the AFL Return to Training protocols document for a comprehensive checklist.
  • Original plans were for an early July season start for these competitions based on biosecurity zone measures (travel between remote NT communities) being lifted on 18 June, however all indications are that these restrictions are likely to be lifted by 5 June.  Once this is confirmed, we will look to start the seasons earlier but using the same fixture framework that we have resourced and secured funding for.
  • Our school programs are on track to commence 1 June.
  • The start of the school Term 3 (20 July) will also see a return of NAB AFL Auskick, Thunder Juniors and social programs. Further updates will be provided closer to these dates.
  • Our Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre (MLLLC) Education Programs will also look to recommence at the start of Term 3.
  • Our Remote Development Managers based in communities are also planning for their season starts and their activity has increased across junior and school programs; this will be better aided once biosecurity measures change.
  • Our Thunder Academy (Talent) Program continues to be on hold until further advice from AFL Head Office regarding what the 2020 program looks like.  We expect an update from HQ over the coming weeks.
  • Our two scheduled AFL games in the NT are still being considered, however, this relies on wider border control measures being eased.

Planning for NTFL

  • A collaborative NTFL Presidents’ meeting occurred on Wednesday night (20/5) for the biggest competition in AFLNT’s arsenal; and it was clear from the meeting that all clubs will be impacted and are conscious of the flow-on effects of COVID-19.
  • AFLNT made clubs aware of the impact of expected loss of revenue of approximately 30-40% and how this will in turn impact clubs and the need for careful financial planning for season 2020/21 and beyond.
  • Healthy discussion took place about fly-in players, player points, fixtures and home games, junior registrations and set up.
  • Over the next few days we will feature some polls on our NTFL Facebook page– we encourage you to jump on and vote on the topics that were discussed. 
  • Clubs have sent in fixture requests and our plan is to push on with presenting draft senior grade fixtures to clubs in late June/July.
  • Feedback on the NTFL by-laws and rules has also been sought before the Laws Committee meets on 2 June.
  • Player registrations will be open on 1 August as usual.

AFLNT thanks the football community for their patience as we continue to work through these unique challenges and hope you and your families continue to stay safe.
Please take care,

Stuart Totham

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