From the CEO; up and running with our 'new normal'

Match Manager cleans the footy in the CAFL

It’s been a few weeks since we last reached out to our stakeholders and in that time there’s been a lot happening!

Over the past 10 days, I’ve been for a drive up and down the track, taking time out to visit all of our larger regional centres – it is great to see so many people with smiles on their faces due to footy making a comeback.
 
It was a great trip and one that I would like to do more often – it was so valuable to catch up and spend time with everyone.
 
The TIO CAFL competition is in full swing and our manager there Simon Hargrave has slotted in like he never left (thanks Simmo).  The community in Alice has certainly embraced the return of footy and I just want to thank our many clubs and stakeholders for their support to get going again.  I also would like pass on a special shout out to our corporate partners who have jumped back on board.
 
I also managed to catch up with Alice Springs Town Council to get an update on facility development, present our facility plan and thank them for the support of the CAFL via the waiving of player facility levies for this season.  We also had meetings regarding the Redtails-Pinktails Program, as well as meetings with the NT Government regarding our community and remote footy programs which are going really well.
 
It was great to spend time in Tennant Creek and our representative there Wayne Green has worked tirelessly on getting the Barkly Australian Football League (BAFL) competition back up and running for its 30th year.  It’s exciting to hear about the upgrades about to take place at Purkiss Reserve, with the changes to really smarten up the facility.  Congrats to Greeny for engaging with stakeholders to make this happen, it will make a big difference to footy in the region.
 
The Big Rivers Football League (BRFL) is already heading into Round 3 (Umpires Round) and there has been incredible support getting footy started again.  This is being ably led by our man Gav May, who managed to finish the past season off on Tiwi Islands successfully and is making a big impact already in the Katherine region.
 
Yesterday we were very excited to see the return to training of our Thunder Academy squads, which has been a long time coming.  The turn up was fantastic of both squad members and support staff and it is clear that everyone is committed to ensuring they adhere to the new “norm” of ensuring social distancing, good hygiene and keeping everything sanitised. We are working hard with the AFL and clubs to seek out opportunities for our talent teams for 2020.
 
In Top End news, preparations for the TIO NTFL season are progressing well. 
 
Importantly, we are very confident that our season will start as normal in early October. The draft fixture is close, with some changes to the structure of the draw including greater club “alignment” i.e. grades playing on one day at one venue. We are also working through any potential changes to our fly-in and players points systems for season 2020/21.
 
NTFL clubs are now embarking on the process of returning to training and ensuring that they are all adhering to COVID requirements.
 
The season is shaping up to be an exciting one, especially hearing the latest updates from the City of Darwin re the Gardens and Nightcliff lighting projects. Gardens is on track for completion in September with Nightcliff hopefully following not long after that.  These initiatives, along with the roof replacement project and new scoreboard at TIO Stadium – all part of NTG upgrade projects, are exciting and welcome news.
 
Finally, we are getting very close to announcements of AFL games both in Darwin and Alice Springs.  I know many of you are waiting eagerly for this outcome and we continue to have our fingers crossed for a great result, notwithstanding the ever-changing landscape of COVID hotspots in the nation.  We continue to work closely with the AFL and NT Government and if this comes off, we will be doing everything we can to have a safe stadium that has as many fans as possible.
 
For all our latest footy-related updates, including how things pertain to NAB AFL Auskick, AFL9s, remote leagues and the NT AFL games, head to:
www.aflnt.com.au/covid-19-updates.

As always through this period, we thank the community for their continued patience and hope you and your families continue to stay safe.

 
Please take care.
 
Stuart Totham
AFLNT CEO 

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