The Gold Coast SUNS will return to the top end for two AFL fixtures at Darwin’s TIO Stadium in 2023.
The SUNS will play the Western Bulldogs on Saturday May 27 as part of Sir Doug Nicholls Round in Round 11 before taking on the Adelaide Crows a week later on Saturday June 3.
After returning to the region for the first time since 2020 last season, GC SUNS Chief Executive Mark Evans said it was an exciting opportunity to be taking AFL football to the Northern Territory again in 2023.
“It’s great for our club to once again be returning to the Northern Territory in 2022 to play two fixtures at TIO Stadium,” Evans said.
“It was a fantastic experience getting back to Darwin in 2022 for the first time in two years and I know our players, coaches and staff will be circling these matches in the calendar again in 2023.
“The partnership between the Gold Coast SUNS and Darwin is a significant one for the club from player development and community engagement perspectives.
“With eight players with links to the Northern Territory now on our AFL list and an ever-growing number of players from the region coming through our development pathways, two matches at TIO Stadium provides the opportunity for young Territorians to aspire to follow in their footsteps.
“With our playing squad to remain in Darwin in-between fixtures, we’re looking forward to the opportunity to engage with the local community away from the football field as well.”
The SUNS recorded back-to-back wins in its two 2022 fixtures in Darwin, defeating Hawthorn by 67 points and North Melbourne by 62 points on consecutive weekends.
“Territorians love their football and there’s never been a better time to catch elite football right here in the Territory,” NT Minister for Major Events Paul Kirby said.
“As well as giving Territorians the chance to watch first-class sport in their own backyard, and attracting interstate fans, these games see the Territory displayed on TV screens across Australia and play a huge role in attracting tourists, supporting local businesses and providing community engagement benefits for both the Top End and Central Australia.”
The matches are the latest to be confirmed by the AFL with Round 1 against the Sydney Swans at Metricon Stadium on Saturday March 18 locked in earlier this week.
Saturday May 27
Gold Coast SUNS v Western Bulldogs
6:55pm local time
Saturday June 3
Gold Coast SUNS v Adelaide Crows
7:00pm local time