Sound the siren; the return of NT footy is set!

Return of NT community footy

AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) is pleased to announce that footy is returning to the Territory with the commencement of the 2020 TIO CAFL season in Alice Springs, along with the BAFL in Tennant Creek and BRFL in Katherine. 

Today’s announcement will make the NT the first place in Australia to welcome the return of Australian football at a community level since the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to all activity in March.
The TIO CAFL Town competitions will commence on Friday 19/Saturday 20 June for a 10-round season plus three weeks of finals, culminating on Saturday 12 September.
The TIO CAFL Community competitions, that involves teams from remote communities in Central Australia, will stick to their traditional Sunday timeslots for the majority of the season, starting on 21 June. They will play nine regular-season games before three rounds of finals, finishing on the weekend of the 19/20 September. The season also gives all teams two bye rounds to account for the Papunya and Yuendumu carnivals. 

In Katherine, the BRFL has some exciting developments with three extra teams added to the mix on a provisional license. The Ngukurr Bulldogs will join the men’s competition, which commences its nine-round season on Saturday 27 June. The proposed fixture framework includes a competition bye round plus three rounds of finals with the grand final scheduled to take place on Saturday 19 September. 

It’s the same timings for the new-look BRFL women’s competition that expands from three teams in 2019 to five teams in 2020 with the re-introduction of the Tindal Magpies and the addition of a new team, the Arnhem Crows. The women will play 10 rounds from Saturday 27 June before crowning a premier on Saturday 19 September.
In what is the 30th year of the BAFL competition, Barkly footy has a tentative start date of 4 July and will conclude in late September/early October.

The return of NT community football comes earlier than first anticipated due to the NT Government’s announcement that biosecurity measures will be lifted on 5 June, thus permitting free movement between communities and regions, which is crucial to the success of AFLNT’s competitions.
Fixtures for all competitions will be released in-line with the return of AFLNT’s competition managers in the coming days. 

Over the past few weeks, AFLNT has been working on a ‘return to play’ strategy and set of protocols. It takes into consideration the feedback harnessed by the clubs, as well as the health and safety advice issued by the NT Government and AFL.
Clubs and players will be required to continue to train and then play in line with all advised hygiene measures and protocols. AFLNT will also be running education and training sessions with clubs and players.

AFLNT hopes to invite supporters and fans to join in the return of football across the NT and is working through the procedures that will be instated to allow crowds.

In other NT footy updates;

The 2020 NAB AFL Auskick programs across Darwin, Palmerston, Rural and Alice Springs will kickstart the week of Monday 20 July, with exact locations, days and times to be finalised in the coming weeks and published on the AFLNT website here. 

Likewise, Thunder Juniors programs in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek are expected to start up training the week of Monday 20 July with the first round of games on Saturday 26 July. Stay tuned to the Alice Springs page here or the Tennant Creek page here for updates. 

The commencement of both programs is to coincide with the school term and the required number of weeks and sessions needed to run Auskick and Thunder Juniors. 

AFLNT plans to offer school holiday programs in Darwin and Alice Springs and will share the details on this page once confirmed. 

Remote competitions and activities that AFLNT remote development managers run or help to support will commence as below;

Competition (men’s) – 18 July
Competition (women’s) – 18 July
Auskick – TBC
School holiday programs – TBC

Gove - Miwatj Health Gove Australian Football League 
Competition (men’s) – 19 June
Competition (women’s) – TBC
Auskick – 19 July
School holiday programs (Gan Gan Homeland) – 6 – 10 July

Groote Eylandt
Competition (men’s) – 19 June *part of Gove competition
Auskick – 4 July
School holiday programs – TBC

Competition – N/A as wet season competition but Northern Warlpiri Swans part of BRFL
Auskick – currently underway
School holiday programs – 4 – 18 July
Competition (men’s) – 15 June
Competition (women’s) – TBC 
Auskick – 15 June
School holiday programs – 29 June
Competition (men’s) – 29 July
Auskick – 11 June
School holiday programs – TBC 

Remote Central Australia
Competition (men’s) – 21 June *part of TIO CAFL
School holiday programs – TBC
AFLNT is still awaiting advice from the AFL on the return to training and competition plans for the national talent programs, including the NT Thunder Academy.

Work with the AFL also continues in regard to the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season with hopes the elite game can return to the Territory this year.

Return to Play summary

Competition news