Local Sport

Coaches Appointed For NT Rep Squads

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AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) has announced that the return of Rep Footy will see Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) representative sides take on Glenelg during the Australia Day long weekend next year.

AFLNT CEO Stuart Totham revealed the opponent and also announced the two TIO NTFL premiership coaches in Chris Baksh (Nightcliff) and Tarmon Elliott (Southern Districts) would take charge of both the representative men’s and women’s sides respectively.

“We’re thrilled to announce that our best men and women from the TIO NTFL competition will pull on the famed ochre, black and white guernsey to take on Glenelg,” AFLNT CEO Stuart Totham said.

“It’s incredible to reflect that the wonderful tradition of Australia Day started in 1985 against Glenelg, so it’s fitting that 35 years later we’ll take on the same club.

“What makes it particularly special is that Glenelg will bring both their men’s and women’s league sides so it will be a historic double-header in that respect.

“And we’ve started on the perfect note with the appointment of our premiership coaches from last season in Chris and Tarmon.

“It is exciting to have representative footy back on Australia Day, so now we get to work to bring the game to life.”

As a powerhouse of the SANFL competition, Glenelg has jumped at the opportunity to travel north with its two squads in what will be a very special year for the club.

“The Glenelg Football Club look forward to partnering with AFLNT to showcase our men’s and women’s programs,” Glenelg Football Club CEO Justin Scripps said.

“In 2021 we celebrate our 100th year playing SANFL League football. Over many years we have been blessed with players from the Northern Territory community, and so the offer to play these games in Darwin provides a great opportunity to thank the Northern Territory community for their support and promote the SANFL competition as a pathway for talented young players to pursue their football careers.”

Both NTFL coaches were on hand for the announcement and are keen for the challenge.

“I’m honoured to have this opportunity to coach the NTFL representative side and to be a part of showcasing the amazing array of talent available,” men’s coach Chris Baksh said.

Tarmon Elliott said; “It’s an honour not just to be selected as coach but to be part of the re-emergence of the NTFL Representative games. As a born-and-bred Territorian, I grew up with these games and to be part of the process now is pretty cool.”

AFLNT also released an Expressions of Interest (EOI) to the NTFL clubs and the broader community for several roles within the representative side; including the selection committee, which will help determine the make-up of the squads.

People wanting to be involved should refer to the attached EOI document and return it to [email protected] by COB on 19 October 2020.

Although the Northern Territory had played representative football before 1985, it was not until the Australia Day representative game tradition began at Gardens Oval in 1985 against Glenelg that the legend of NTFL rep footy took off.

From that day when the NTFL ran out 35-point winners, it went on to take on powerhouse football clubs from the AFL, VFL, SANFL and WAFL each year on or around Australia Day which became a highlight on the Darwin community's calendar.

It also became the foundation of an era which gave birth to some of Territory footy's most recognisable names.

It has now been 15 years since the NTFL last played a representative game – against North Adelaide in 2006 – and AFLNT is now looking to create a new history, led by the inclusion of the women’s side.

“This will be the first official NTFL representative women’s team other than those pioneers who played for Darwin in intra-Territory matches,” Totham said.

“To showcase the best of our NTFL women’s competition for the first time and to see it play out as a double-header of our teams against Glenelg will make for a real celebration of footy.

“We know this is something the fans have wanted and the NTFL clubs have been very supportive of the concept and have agreed to a competition-bye over the Australia Day long weekend.”

Round 15 will be a split round; beginning on Tuesday 26 January and continuing through to the weekend of Saturday 30 January. The 2020/21 TIO NTFL season will remain an 18 round minor season, concluding a week later than usual; the weekend of 20 February before finals begin.