Footy fans to reach fever pitch with AFL doubleheader

NT Government

Footy fever is returning to the Top End, with the AFL today confirming the fixture details for the Round 11 and 12 matches at Darwin’s TIO Stadium.

The Gold Coast SUNS will take on Hawthorn as part of the prestigious Sir Doug Nicholls Round on Saturday, 28 May 2022. The Territory’s adopted team will then return to TIO Stadium the following Saturday, 4 June 2022, for their Round 12 match against North Melbourne.

A third Territory AFL match will take place in Alice Springs at TIO Traeger Park later this year between the Melbourne Demons and Port Adelaide, with more details to be released soon.

The games are part of the Northern Territory Government’s partnership with the AFL, which sees Gold Coast SUNS and Melbourne Demons play a game in the NT each season. There will be three games this year due to COVID restrictions affecting the roll-out of games in 2021.

Tickets for the Round 11 game will be on sale via [] from next week. Tickets for Round 12 will be on sale at a later date. The Gold Coast SUNS will also be offering special Territory SUN memberships, which guarantee access to the games, starting at $20 for one-game junior general admission and $55 for adults, or $39 for juniors and $75 for adults for two-game memberships.

Quotes from Minister For Major Events Natasha Fyles

“It’s great to have live AFL return to the Northern Territory, treating locals to the highest level of footy.

“Territorians love their footy and live sport and always jump at the opportunity to enjoy these nationally acclaimed sports events when they hit the Territory.

“It’s always fantastic when a Sir Doug Nicholls Round game takes place in the Territory. The round celebrates the contribution of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players at the heart of the sport, and the Territory is the heart of Aboriginal culture in Australia. There could not be a better combination.

“Two Saturday night games in a row, one on free-to-air Channel 7 across Australia, is a great result for the Territory, with thousands of fans set to tune in to watch. Meanwhile, interstate fans will be keen to enjoy a week-long Top End break to see their team play not once, but twice. This is great news for our tourism and hospitality sectors.

“We also see AFL returning to the Red Centre after a hiatus due to COVID last year. Red Centre footy fans are some of the most enthusiastic fans around, so it’s great they will be able to enjoy live, professional AFL in their region.”

Quotes from Gold Coast SUNS player Sean Lemmens:

“We’re really excited to be heading back to Darwin this year and playing back-to-back home games up in the Top End for the first time.

“It’s a special experience for myself and the other Indigenous players to be able to represent the SUNS during Sir Doug Nicholls Round, and even more special to be able to do that in Darwin.

“I have a lot of family up there in Darwin and the Tiwi Islands who always love to come and support the SUNS when we play in the NT. We know the local community are super passionate and absolutely love their footy in the NT so hopefully we can see as many people as possible come out to support the SUNS at TIO Stadium.”

Quotes from Head of AFLNT Sam Gibson:

“A big thank you to the Gold Coast SUNS, Northern Territory Government and AFL for working together to ensure our Territory footy fans have the opportunity to watch multiple elite games live in their backyard this year after COVID interruptions last year.

“A special shout out to the Gold Coast SUNS for their persistence in bringing games to the Territory. We appreciate the commitment to the relationship with AFLNT and the Territory footy community.

“Territorians have two awesome AFL blockbuster Gold Coast SUNS games in just two weeks to look forward to and will also see the Melbourne Demons at the peak of their powers in Alice Springs later in the season. We hope the Territory community will get amongst it, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy AFL footy being back in the NT again.”

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