AFL announces 2022 fixtures in NT with Suns heading to Darwin and Demons to Alice Springs

After losing all its Australian Football League fixtures in 2021 due to COVID-19 outbreaks, the Northern Territory will host two games in Darwin and one in Alice Springs during the 2022 season.

The fixtures include consecutive matches in Darwin in rounds 11 and 12 of the AFL season.

The Gold Coast Suns will host Hawthorn at TIO Stadium in Darwin in round 11 as part of the AFL’s annual Sir Doug Nicholls Round, which celebrates Indigenous culture and the contribution of First Nations Australians to the AFL.

The Suns will play again in Darwin in round 12, with the AFL to announce their opponent in the coming days.

The Melbourne Demons will play a match Traeger Park in Alice Springs later in the season, with their opponent and round also soon to be announced.

Eddie Betts holds his hands out and looks at a yellow AFL ball while being challenged by a Suns player
Eddie Betts, who now plays locally in the NT, played against the Suns in Darwin in 2020.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

It will be the third year in a row Gold Coast Suns matches have been fixtured in Darwin after AFL Northern Territory (AFL NT) entered a partnership with the club ahead of the 2020 season. 

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AFL NT chief executive Sam Gibson said the fixtures were a welcome announcement for Territorians after “an unfortunate year of no AFL footy” in the NT in 2021.

Gold Coast Suns chief executive Mark Evans said the club would remain in Darwin between its round 11 and 12 fixtures in “an effort to create a real festival of AFL football within the community”.

Melbourne Demons chief executive Gary Pert said Traeger Park had “become like a second home” for the club, which is continuing its tradition of playing an annual match in the Red Centre.

“Our players, coaches and staff have built a close relationship with the NT over the past decade and continue to focus on giving back to the community and ensuring our partnership is meaningful and impactful,” he said.

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