The Northern Territory's bid for its own AFL team has taken a significant leap forward with a seven-person task force set up.
The task force is hopeful of setting up a sustainable business proposal to put forward to the AFL. The idea is to have a team in the competition by the end of the decade when an AFL licence becomes available.
There has been a significant push and a sense of inevitability that the competition's 19th licence would go to Tasmania, but the Northern Territory are keen to get a slice of the pie as early as possible.
According to the NT News, the panel will consist of Sports Minister Kate Worden, AFLNT board chairman Sean Bowden, Mr Nigel Browne, Airport Development Group chairman Tony Edmondstone, the managing director and network head of sport at Seven Melbourne Lewis Martin, former Melbourne and Essendon chief executive Peter Jackson and general manager health service, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Josie Douglas.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said that there was a real desire in the NT community to have its own team after years of hosting established AFL clubs in the region.
“This next stage brings in a range of experts to make the Territory dream real,’’ he said.
“We will be ready for a national team when the AFL is ready to expand.”
Sean Bowden said the style of football played in the Northern Territory was one that couldn't be taught and one that deserved more resources and focus.
Bowden said a team of their own would help pave the way for young Territorians who harboured dreams of playing at the highest level.
“We have unique talent and a style of football in the Territory that can’t be taught,’’ he said.
“A Territory-own AFL Team will be a pathway and an inspiration to our young people, a source of pride for the community and a major stimulus to the Territory economy.’’
Sports Minister and taskforce co-chair Kate Worden believes a team of their own would give Territorians tremendous pride and help highlight the region and its beauty.
“We want this team to become a permanent part of Territory life and a source of pride for all Territorians on the national stage,’’ she said
“The high calibre of the taskforce members confirms the passion and belief from across Australia in the idea of a Territory AFL team.”