Local Sport

VFLW Fixture Released

The NT Thunder women’s team has a lot to look forward to in 2019, including five big games at home, one on a showstopper weekend in Alice Springs.

The Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s season begins with a bang for Thunder, with the team up against the reigning premiers, Hawthorn in Box Hill for Round 1 on Sunday 12 May.

It’s one of five Sunday games the team will play with a mix of Saturday and Sunday away games sure to assist the players with their employment and family commitments, as the Club will again be on the road more often than not.

In good news for fans, they won’t have to wait long to watch their mums, daughters, sisters and friends play at home, with the Round 2 game against the Southern Saints to be held in Darwin.

This will be one of two curtain-raisers the VFL W side play before the NT Thunder NEAFL side, the second game promising big things already with the women taking on AFLW-affiliated Carlton and the men up against the AFL-affiliated Sydney Swans on Saturday 6 July.

Thunder’s last home game will also be a significant occasion, with the women playing the Casey Demons in Alice Springs on the same weekend as the exciting Toyota AFL Premiership Season game between Melbourne and the West Coast Eagles. It also comes only a week prior to the NEAFL side’s second Alice Springs game, so it will be a big fortnight for footy fans in Central Australia.

Thunder’s other two home games are against quality opposition and come back to back, firstly in Round 6 against a building Richmond outfit, who are set to enter the AFLW competition in 2020.

The Tigers women will make their first visit to the Top End a week before Essendon, who returns for its second year running making the trip north in Round 7.

Of the five teams travelling to play in the NT, only Casey and Essendon have done so before with Carlton, Richmond and the Southern Saints venturing north for their first VFL W games.

Next year’s VFL W competition will again see 13 teams competing over 16 rounds followed by a four-week finals series, with two byes for each club throughout the home-and-away season.

Thunder’s byes are nicely spaced out, coming in Round 3 and Round 14.

In major developments for the competition next year, there will be an expanded finals series with a top six and the Grand Final will be broadcast on Channel 7 before the VFL men’s season decider.

NT Thunder Manager, Andrew Hodges thanked the VFL and the clubs for continuing to work with Thunder in 2019.

“It is pleasing to have teams travelling up to take us on after the success of our first season, and for valuing the role we can play in developing and improving ourselves through the VFL W competition.

“To have five home games in the Territory is pleasing, but we also know we are the only full-time interstate team and the travel for the away games is something we are now familiar with and that we value given the opportunity we’re given to play in the best women’s state league competition

“Last season we proved we can mix it with the top teams in the competition and off the back of Heidi Thompson’s announcement as head coach earlier today, we will look to build on that in 2019,” he said.

Speaking to both the women’s and men’s NT Thunder teams Hodges said he had already marked Saturday the 6th of July in his calendar as a momentous occasion.

“Every game at these representative levels is tough, but one of the highlights of NT Thunder’s male and female programs will be the games on Saturday the 6th of July. The VFL W side will take on Carlton at TIO Stadium at 3.30pm, followed by the NEAFL men against the Sydney Swans at 6.30pm. They are both quality, AFLW and AFL affiliated teams, so it’s an exciting challenge we welcome,” he said.

Key points for NT Thunder 2019 Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s fixture:

Four AFLW-affiliated teams to play in the NT; Southern Saints (Round 2), Richmond (Round 6), Carlton (Round 9) and Casey Demons (Round 11 – Alice Springs)

One other home game against Essendon in Round 7

Two curtain-raiser games to NT Thunder NEAFL team; Southern Saints (Round 2), Carlton (Round 9)

Round 11 game in Alice Springs on same weekend as 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership Season Round 18 game between Melbourne and the West Coast Eagles

Nine away games; four on Saturdays, five on Sundays and two byes

Teams NT Thunder plays twice during 2019; Carlton, Casey Demons

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