Kick­ing ahead

NT seeks new AFL deal

Herald Sun - - NEWS - WILL ZWAR

A FRESH group of AFL teams may be chased to play footy in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory next year, with Mel­bourne Foot­ball Club’s deal with the NT gov­ern­ment com­ing to an end.

A new agree­ment for home­and-away sea­son games un­til 2023 has the Ter­ri­tory’s gov­ern­ment look­ing at teams who “mo­ti­vate in­ter­state AFL sup­port­ers to visit the NT, and appeal to the local com­mu­nity”.

The Demons’ con­tract lasted two years, af­ter seven prior years in which they played 11 games in the NT.

Local com­mu­ni­ties were the big­gest win­ners of the $1.6 mil­lion in­vest­ment, which cul­mi­nated in the Mel­bourne-Fre­man­tle clash last week­end.

“The Mel­bourne Demons FC did four (or) five com­mu­nity vis­its last Fri­day to youth drop-in cen­tres, Bagot Com­mu­nity, local sports stores and open train­ing ses­sion,” NT Min­is­ter for Tourism and Cul­ture Lau­ren Moss said.

She said vis­it­ing women’s teams were also im­mers­ing them­selves in the com­mu­nity, with a VFLW match held as a cur­tain-raiser for the first time in the NT. Gee­long’s AFLW team made com­mu­nity vis­its.

“AFL is not just a sport for us in the NT, it’s a great so­cial, eco­nomic and cul­tural con­trib­u­tor that brings com­mu­ni­ties to­gether and pro­vides im­por­tant op­por­tu­ni­ties for so many Ter­ri­to­ri­ans,” she said.

The match be­tween Mel­bourne and Fre­man­tle at­tracted a crowd of 8689, 4000 less than last year’s Demons game. But Ms Moss said she was not con­cerned by that.

“As lad­der po­si­tion of­ten has a bear­ing on at­ten­dance at AFL games, we are happy with th­ese num­bers,” she said.

Only half of the guests at a match-day func­tion were in­ter­state guests, she added.

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