THE MELBOURNE Football Club welcomes the announcement made by the Northern Territory Government, AFLNT and the AFL that Melbourne will play three games in the Northern Territory in 2014.

Melbourne will play a pre-season game and two games for premiership points in the Northern Territory next season.

The Club will host the first ever game for premiership points in Alice Springs during Indigenous Round, against Port Adelaide in Round 11.

Melbourne will also host Fremantle in Round 16 at TIO Stadium, which will see the Club play in Darwin for the fifth consecutive season. 

The Demons will play a pre-season game in Alice Springs against another Victorian based club during February 2014.

Melbourne CEO Peter Jackson said, “We are pleased to be part of the historic first ever game for premiership points in Alice Springs.  Alice Springs is a culturally significant part of Australia, and it’s great to take AFL to all parts of the country.

“As a Club, we have been in discussions with the Northern Territory government since July this year, and we hope this announcement is the first step of a deeper and lasting relationship with the Northern Territory.

Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing Matt Conlan said ““This Government is delighted by this news and supports growing a strong society and a confident culture and we know Territorians will appreciate and support the AFL matches in Alice Springs and Darwin,” Mr Conlan said.

“It’s a great outcome for all key stakeholders in the AFL competition here in the NT – players, clubs, officials, key sponsors and affiliates.”

“The Northern Territory and AFL’s strong links continue to grow with breaking news that next year Alice Springs, along with Darwin, will host a home and away match for premiership points.

“This will be a major highlight of the sporting year taking place during the popular Indigenous round after months of consultation and lobbying by the Northern Territory Government AFL General Manager Broadcasting, Scheduling and Major Projects Simon Lethlean said the AFL was greatly appreciative of the support of the NT government in being able to stage both a pre-season match and two matches for premiership points as part of the 2014 Toyota AFL Premiership Season in the Territory.

“A first-ever match for four points in Alice Springs at TIO Traeger Park will be one of the highlights of the 2014 season, taking AFL an premiership match into central Australia and top-level sport to fans in one of the most remote parts of Australia.

“We are delighted the NT government, through Minister Matt Conlan, has supported this historic first match in Alice Springs to be part of Indigenous Round in Round 11, with Melbourne to host Port Adelaide – one of the great improving teams of the 2013 season.

“Grand Finalist Fremantle will then play Melbourne at TIO Stadium at Marrara in Darwin in round 16.

“The support of both Fremantle and Port Adelaide has been greatly appreciated by the AFL, along with the outstanding efforts of major broadcast partner Foxtel / Fox Footy and AFL NT, headed by Tony Frawley,” Mr Lethlean said.