AFL matches cru­cial for NT

NT News - - OPINION -

THE AFL matches in the Ter­ri­tory are a high­light on any sport­ing fan’s cal­en­dar but the par­tic­i­pat­ing clubs are a key part of how suc­cess­ful the ven­ture is.

With Mel­bourne’s cur­rent con­tract with the NT Gov­ern­ment fin­ished it may be time to look at clubs who go above and be­yond to meet the op­por­tu­nity’s de­mands.

The NT Gov­ern­ment is right to re­quest clubs which “both mo­ti­vate in­ter­state AFL sup­port­ers to visit the NT and ap­peal to the lo­cal com­mu­nity” to en­sure they don’t waste the op­por­tu­nity. For the Ter­ri­tory, it’s not about eight pre­mier­ship points in two games, it’s about mak­ing an in­vest­ment in tourism and the com­mu­nity, giv­ing kids and all fans a chance to see their idols in the flesh.

It is point­less hav­ing clubs turn up that don’t pro­vide an en­ter­tain­ing match or don’t in­volve them­selves in the com­mu­nity. A team shouldn’t play in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory be­cause of the cor­po­rate dol­lar, it should play here be­cause it wants to en­ter­tain on and off the field, and make its mark on the Ter­ri­tory. It’s not an easy bal­ance to find – two clubs that will cre­ate a spec­ta­cle on the field, bring fans through the gates and in­te­grate with the com­mu­nity.

And it isn’t easy for even the best tip­ster to pre­dict which teams will make for an en­ter­tain­ing clash when the deal is made, or when the fix­ture is re­leased in late Oc­to­ber.

But while the NT matches have been dubbed a suc­cess, in par­tic­u­lar the game in Alice Springs, the NT Gov­ern­ment and the AFL are pro­vided with an op­por­tu­nity to build an agree­ment with a club based on com­mit­ment to the cause, not to the high­est bid­der.

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