The Gold Coast SUNS are set to take on the Melbourne Demons in Darwin on Saturday, July 24 at 6.55pm ACST, as a rescheduled fixture in the Northern Territory.
The AFL today released the Round 19 Toyota AFL Premiership fixture in an effort to allow the clubs the maximum time to prepare and for members and fans to plan their weekends in the NT.
Originally scheduled to play Hawthorn in Round 11 in Darwin during Sir Doug Nicholls Round, the fixture was forced to be relocated to Sydney due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Gold Coast Chief Executive Mark Evans said he is excited by the opportunity to not only help grow the game but also bring AFL Premiership football back to the region, in 2021.
“We’re really pleased that the AFL have been able to confirm that the Gold Coast SUNS will play in a primetime fixture against the Melbourne Demons at TIO Stadium,” Evans said.
“We had our game rescheduled in May, and the AFL have been working hard with the NT Government to ensure AFL football is played in Darwin, in 2021.”
Darwin and the Northern Territory will take centre stage, with the game set to be broadcast live on Channel 7, around the country.
A sell-out crowd was expected in Round 11 and Evans was bullish about the possibility of reaching that milestone again, even with the shorter lead into the game.
“Ticketing information will come out next week and we want to encourage Territorians’ to come to the game wearing their Red and Gold.”
“The club has put a lot of work into helping grow the game in the region in recent years and we want Territorians to call us their own, until the time comes when NT might have their own team.”
Northern Territory Minister for Major Events Natasha Fyles said the fixture would provide a great opportunity for people throughout Darwin to benefit.
“Territorians love their footy and it’s sensational to learn that we will now be able to watch it live right here in the Top End.
“We are in for a treat with the Gold Coast Suns clash against the Melbourne Demons certain to attract a massive following.
“We’ve worked hard to bring AFL back to the Territory and now we will see the benefits flow through the community.”
AFL NT CEO Stuart Totham, expressed his excitement at AFL Football coming to the Territory.
“Territorians have an awesome AFL blockbuster game in just two weeks to look forward to; we will see a Melbourne Demons team at the peak of their powers and an improving Gold Coast Suns, and we hope the Darwin community will get amongst it, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the show.”
While the remaining dates and times for the fixture past Round 19 remain a week to week proposition, the AFL is committed to providing fans with as much time as possible to plan their attendance at games.