Having travelled through Central Australia during the holiday break, a visit to a local AFL football match in Darwin was high on the agenda. The local competition is the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) and consists of 8 teams with both the Bombers and the Buffaloes placed in the bottom half of the ladder.
Approaching TIO Stadium it was hard to believe a game of AFL would be played with the weather a very hot and muggy 35 degrees and close to 100% humidity. Spectator attendance was fairly poor however crowds continued to build throughout the game with the highly anticipated Women's AFL game being scheduled from 5pm between, The Adelaide Crows and The Fremantle Dockers
We were surprised at the very reasonable $12 adult entrance fee. We were also surprised by the lack of obvious security with no bag searches. TIO stadium is equipped with a very comfortable multi tiered stand on the wing with enclosed members facilities on the top tier, while the new building behind the goals provided the perfect location for the AFL Women's teams media photo shoot prior to their match. The ground however had the feel of a local Melbourne competition with grassed viewing areas around approximately half the ground.
Despite being over 3,500 km from home and having replaced coats and scarves with shorts and thongs the familiar sound of the siren evokes the sense of anticipation that an AFL match is about to start.
The Tiwi Bombers got off to a great start however as the game progressed, the Darwin Buffaloes proved too strong winning 18.11.119 to 16.11.107. The overall standard of the game was a little disappointing however we did see some great individual efforts, amazing agility, along with some solid marking in front of goals.
Unfortunately we were unable to remain for the AFL Women's game however we did snap a few pics of the Adelaide girls during warm up at 3/4 time. From all reports the trail game was well received with an estimated 2,500 spectators turning out to watch. Fremantle who are the early flag favourites took out the match 8-10-58 to 4-12-36.
Fantastic to see women's football at this level! Well done to the AFL and the clubs behind the inaugural competition.