Footy fever has struck the Northern Territory with the AFL today confirming the fixture for the SUNS’ Round 11 Sir Doug Nicholls clash in Darwin.
The SUNS will face Hawthorn on Saturday May 29 (7.10pm ACST bounce) at TIO Stadium in Darwin, the second-straight year the club has played in the Territory in partnership with the NT government.
Gold Coast SUNS CEO Mark Evans said playing in Darwin on a Saturday night live on Channel 7 during Sir Doug Nicholls Round highlights the value of the club’s partnership with the Territory.
“In the first year of our NT partnership we secured a game in Sir Doug Nicholls Round which worked so well we lobbied to do it again in 2021,” he said.
“Our Round 11 clash with the Hawks will be massive and I am confident we will build our annual Darwin fixture into an AFL showpiece event during Sir Doug Nicholls Round.”
Evans said playing in Darwin during this important Round is a great way to recognise the contribution of current and past Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander footballers - including many Territorians - to the AFL.
“We have some exciting Indigenous talent on our AFL list in Jarrod Harbrow, Izak Rankine, Sean Lemmens, Jy Farrar and of course our two Territorians in Malcolm Rosas Jnr and Joel Jeffrey. They will be absolutely itching to play in our Darwin game,” he said.
“Being Sir Doug Nicholls Round and featuring an exciting SUNS team against a big Victorian club, this game it will attract a large crowd and a huge TV and online audience of more than a million people.”
Northern Territory Minister for Major Events Natasha Fyles said it was exciting for the Territory to host the Gold Coast SUNS match as well as a Melbourne Demons v Brisbane Lions match in Alice Springs.
“There are an army of AFL followers in the Territory who will be thrilled to see these two clashes unfold in the Top End,” Minister Fyles said.
“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 of the Red Centre.”
The Saturday night SUNS match is expected to attract a big crowd at TIO Stadium.
In Round 12 the SUNS will have a bye.