AFL Dreamtime match headed to Darwin

The AFL's annual Dreamtime match between Richmond and Essendon will be played in Darwin for the first time on August 22.

Darwin will host the biggest match in Northern Territory football history when the AFL this year takes its annual Dreamtime clash between Richmond and Essendon to the Top End for the first time.

The match will take place on August 22 as part of the round 13 fixture, with the rest of the matches in the dedicated 'Sir Doug Nicholls Round' to be announced next week.

It is possible more matches will be hosted in Darwin as the AFL continues to schedule fixtures within government COVID-19 restrictions.

The 16th Dreamtime match will be the first played away from the MCG, thanks to the coronavirus resurgence in Victoria that has forced all AFL clubs out of the state.

Both clubs enjoy long-standing connections with the NT.

Some of their all-time greatest players hail from the nearby Tiwi Islands, including Norm Smith Medal winners Maurice Rioli and Michael Long.

Bombers excitement machine Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Tigers premiership forward Daniel Rioli - both Indigenous Territory products - shape as the poster boys for an event that will extend far beyond the boundary line at Marrara's TIO Stadium.

"Dreamtime is a highly significant game for both Richmond and Essendon, and a major event on the AFL calendar," Richmond CEO Brendon Gale said.

"The unique opportunity to play Dreamtime 2020 in Darwin is one that the whole club looks forward to immensely."

The 'Sir Doug Nicholls Round' will take on added significance this season, with 2020 marking the 25th anniversary of the AFL's introduction of its Discrimination and Racial and Religious Vilification Act.

"This act clearly signalled that racial and religious vilification would no longer be tolerated in Australian football," AFL social policy and inclusion manager Tanya Hosch said.

"We continue to prioritise an inclusive environment for all people within the industry and focus on identifying strategies targeted at the prevention of vilification before it occurs.

"Through the hard work and dedication of our playing group, past and present, community leaders and industry leaders, we're able to collectively work towards a future with no racism in our game."


AAP