Darwin to Host Historic AFLW Dreamtime Game in 2024

Darwin to Host Historic AFLW Dreamtime Game in 2024

The Northern Territory is set to be the center stage for Indigenous culture and women’s football as Darwin’s TIO Stadium lands the prestigious AFLW Dreamtime game in 2024.

This announcement comes as the finalized AFLW season fixture nears release, expected later this week. The agreement between the AFL and the Northern Territory government marks a significant moment for the league and the Top End.

Celebrating First Nations Culture on a National Stage

Essendon will face Richmond on October 26th in a historic clash that goes beyond the game itself. This will be only the second time the AFLW Dreamtime game is hosted in Northern Australia, and the third time it’s held outside Victoria, following the 2021 men’s Dreamtime game in Perth.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler expressed her enthusiasm, highlighting the Territory’s unique cultural identity: “The Northern Territory is home to the largest population of the oldest continuous cultures on the planet. This Dreamtime match will play an important role in celebrating this rich cultural heritage.”

Boosting the Territory’s AFLW Bid

The agreement strengthens the Territory’s case for securing its own AFLW team. A recently released AFL business case and a dedicated Taskforce assessing the viability of an NT team add weight to this ambition.

NT Sports Minister Kate Worden sees participation rates as a clear indicator: “The Northern Territory has the highest participation rates per capita of women in AFL. This match will showcase the Territory’s passion for AFLW on the national stage.”

A Perfect Fit for Women’s Football

Hosting the Dreamtime game aligns perfectly with the Territory’s existing strengths. As AFL Northern Territory chair Sean Bowden points out, “Women make up 40% of all registered players in the Territory – twice the national average.”

“The passion our female footballers show here truly highlights their love for the game,” Bowden added. “This Dreamtime Game will spread that enthusiasm across Australia.”

A Collaborative Effort

AFL chief executive Andrew Dillon expressed his gratitude to the NT Government for their support, calling the announcement a “fantastic initiative.” The Territory’s continued investment in football is seen as a catalyst for deeper engagement and participation across the region.

What’s Next?

The AFLW Indigenous Round is expected to span two weeks towards the end of the 2024 season. This announcement marks a significant step forward for both the AFLW and the Northern Territory, fostering cultural celebration, boosting women’s football participation, and potentially paving the way for an NT team in the future.

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Source: https://nit.com.au/31-05-2024/11717/nt-gov-confirms-dreamtime-game-return-to-top-end-in-aflw

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