Northern Territory AFL taskforce pushes ahead with ambitious bid to establish locally-based team

For rising young Northern Territory footballer Isaiah Baldock, his dream of playing for an NT-based AFL team could be closer than he imagined.

The 17-year-old plays for the NTFL’s St Mary’s Football Club and hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow Territorian and Geelong AFL footballer, Brandan Parfitt.

“It’s always a little boy’s dream to play in the AFL,” Mr Baldock said.

“Just knowing that there could be an AFL team up here [in the NT] just gives you a little bit more confidence that the dream may be a reality.

“It’s something to strive towards and look forward to.”

He is hoping that dream could soon be realised, as the bid for an AFL team licence in the Top End gathers pace.

A Northern Territory AFL taskforce is in the process of developing a business case to drive the NT’s push for a team forward.

Territorian and promising young footballer Isaiah Baldock has aspirations of representing an NT-based AFL team.(ABC News: Dane Hirst)

“All the ingredients are in place for the Northern Territory to have an AFL team,” AFLNT Chair and taskforce member Sean Bowden said.

“We’ve got the great participation rates in the Territory, enormous talent and a community that just loves football.”

Major hurdles ahead

Feasibility studies have been carried out before.

While the Northern Territory boasts the highest per capita participation rates in Australian rules football in the country, it faces significant obstacles in its bid for a local club.

Last year, a separate report commissioned by AFLNT, with a grant from the NT government, found the Territory’s small population would pose a major challenge in driving the revenue needed for the long-term sustainability of an AFL team.

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