Footy keeps on keeping on!

Well you thought the footy season was done and dusted for 2012 – Not So!

Way up in the north of this big land of ours, AFL footy is played from October to February each year.

Reputedly this is due to the effect of the dry season on the ground, and while no-one’s really sure if this is true, that’s the way it’s been for almost a hundred years according to the CEO of the AFL NT, Tony Frawley.

“No-one really knows.”

“Apparently one of the reasons was the grounds were too hard in the dry season and the bodies were crunching and those sorts of things, so they put it in the wet season because the grounds were a lot softer and it’s historically stayed that way for 97 years.” he said in a recent interview on Radio Australia.

So on the first weekend in October, Round One of season 2012/2013 got underway.

This year the regular eight team fixture has expanded to ten as two newcomers dip there collective toes in the water at the top level of competition.

Division One premiers, the Banks, have been promoted and are to play four trial games as will a local team from Alice Springs – the Central Australian Red Tails.

This experiment is with a view to expanding to a full ten team fixture next year or in 2014.

A big part of the growth of the competition is the recruiting of former senior AFL players.

Former Essendon player Andrew Lovett is lining up this season with the Darwin Buffaloes; Xavier Clarke (St. Kilda) is playing for St Mary’s; Troy Taylor (Richmond) is on Southern Districts’ list along with several others spread throughout the competition – the least of which is recently retired Adelaide Crows stalwart Michael Doughty who has joined one of the newcomers, Banks.

According to Tony Frawley, the presence of these high profile players inspires a lot of young players at the clubs and is helping the competition grow in stature.

There is also the added element of the Motlop dynasty consistently in the mix. 24 year old Thomas has started this season playing his 100th game in the league and the new coach of the Darwin Buffaloes is Mark Motlop.


The Women’s competition is also growing strongly to the great delight of  Tony Frawley.

Ït’s just phenomenal the amount of women’s teams who want to join. Probably five or six years ago it wasn’t culturally correct to be able to compete in AFL football but certainly now they all want to play. We’ve got a very vibrant strong competition here in Darwin and we’re actually working with all the remote areas now to increase the amount of teams out there and the opportunities for girls to play.”

He says the girl’s competition in the Northern Territory grew 250 per cent last year alone – the highest participation rate across Australia.

“It’s probably our biggest growth market here in NT and we’re very proud of that.”

So for those suffering from footy deprivation, do not despair. Rest easy knowing that the game goes on year round somewhere across this wide, brown land.


Twitter: @JDScanlon

Link to similar article: Participation rates soar in AFLNT –[tt_news]=480&tx_ttnews[backPid]=5&cHash=38ab1fa9ae

About Jill Scanlon

Blues fan and sports lover. Development through sports advocate; producer, journalist and news follower. Insanely have returned to p/t study - a Masters of International & Community Development. Formerly with ABC International / Radio Australia in Melbourne.


  1. YEP, the Bendigo Football League’s goal kicking record-holder, Grant Weeks of Golden Square, had a gallop with Xavier Clarke’s St Mary’s the other weekend. [Sat. October 13th].
    Weeksy snagged a lazy nine sausage rolls, Clarke got five and BOG, while 16-y-o William Rioli Jnr bagged eight.

    William Jnr. is one of Dean Rioli’s brothers. Another bro. Shannon also played. They’re cousins to Cyril Rioli.

    Final scores: St Mary’s 38.13 (241) def. Darwin 3.3 (21).

    Weeksy hopes to fly back to the Top End after Xmas, once the harvest has been brought in from his family’s central Vic. grain farm at Colbinabbin. He booted 164 goals in the 2012 Bendigo F.L. season, to break Frank Crapper of Eaglehawk’s 163-goal mark which had stood since 1933.
    The 2 tallies take in home and away as well as finals games. Weeks played two fewer games than Crapper did back in the Thirties to set his record.

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