Dates confirmed for epic AFL clash

NT Government

Footy fever has struck the Northern Territory with the AFL confirming dates for two blockbuster AFL clashes in coming weeks.

This comes following a packed NRL match last Friday that saw more than 12,000 people cheer on the Parramatta Eels and Brisbane Broncos at TIO Stadium.

The Gold Coast Suns will face Hawthorn on Saturday, 29 May 2021 at TIO Stadium in Darwin and the Melbourne Demons will take on the Brisbane Lions at Traeger Park in Alice Springs on Friday, 4 June 2021.

The games are part of the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Rounds, which recognise the contribution of the game’s Aboriginal players and their cultures.

This also forms part of the Northern Territory Government’s partnership with the AFL, which has seen a Gold Coast Suns game become a regular fixture in the Top End, and the Melbourne Demons head to the Red Centre each year.

In exciting news for Darwin footy fans, it will mark the first time Hawthorn will play in the Territory since 1991.

Meanwhile in Alice Springs, AFL fans will get to watch one of the top two teams in action.

Tickets for the Gold Coast Suns and Hawthorn game at TIO Stadium will be available from 7 May via

Fans can secure a ticket prior to on sale by purchasing a Territory SUN ‘reserved’ or ‘general admission’ membership at:

Tickets for the Melbourne and Brisbane Lions clash at TIO Traeger Park are available from 14 May.

Tickets for general public and club members will be available online via

Quotes from Minister for Major Events Natasha Fyles:

“There is an army of AFL followers in the Territory who will be thrilled to see these two clashes unfold in the Top End.

“The Northern Territory is proud of its partnership with the AFL to ensure Territorians can watch elite football right here.

“These AFL games are an opportunity for Territorians to watch world-class sport in their own backyard, whether they live in the Top End or the Red Centre.”

Quotes from Gold Coast SUNS CEO Mark Evans:

“Playing a Saturday night blockbuster game in Darwin live on Channel 7 during Sir Doug Nicholls Round highlights the value of the SUNS partnership with the Territory.

“Our Round 11 clash with the Hawks will be massive and I am confident we will build our annual Darwin fixture into an AFL show-piece event during the Sir Doug Nicholls Round. It’s a great way to recognise the contribution of current and past Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander footballers – including many Territorians – to the AFL.

“The SUNS have some very exciting Indigenous talent in Izak Rankine, Sean Lemmens, Jy Farrar, Jarrod Harbrow and, of course, our two Territorians in Malcolm Rosas Jnr and Joel Jeffrey. They will all be absolutely itching to play in Darwin.

“Being Sir Doug Nicholls Round and featuring an exciting SUNS team against a big Victorian club in the Hawks, this game will attract a large crowd and a huge TV and online audience of more than a million people.”

Quotes from Gary Pert, CEO, Melbourne Football Club:

“As a club, we’re really excited to be heading back to Alice Springs for another season.

“The Northern Territory holds a special place in the hearts of the Melbourne players, staff and Board. We have built a strong relationship over the past decade and continue to focus on giving back to the community and ensuring our partnership is meaningful and impactful.

“Sir Doug Nicholls Round is always such a great celebration and to be able to play that round in Alice Springs is extra special.

“Traeger Park has become a home away from home for us and it’s great to be able to connect with the local community and bring the AFL competition to their backyard.

“We would like to extend our thanks to the Northern Territory government for their ongoing support and for welcoming us every year.”

Quotes from Stuart Totham, CEO, AFL NT:

“A big thank you to the Northern Territory Government and the AFL for working together to again ensure our Territory footy fans have the opportunity to watch elite games live in their backyard during Sir Doug Nicholls Round.

“We also extend our gratitude to Channel 7, who will showcase free-to-air another aspect of our incredible Territory to a national audience.

“Territorians have two awesome AFL blockbuster games in two weeks to look forward to; we hope they will get amongst it, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the show.”

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