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AFL in discussions to move AFLW Dreamtime game to Darwin

Jackson Clark -

The AFL are reportedly in discussions to permanently move the AFLW Dreamtime clash between Essendon and Richmond to Darwin.

According to a report by the ABC, the talks are in 'advanced' stages with Northern Territory Sports Minister Kate Worden stating that the NT government supported the idea in principle.

"It's very pleasing ... [and] sends a strong message about the cultural significance of the game and the importance of the Northern Territory to both clubs and our contribution to the game over many years," Worden told the ABC.

"The Territory Labor Government has always been supportive of bringing men's and women's AFL matches to the territory.

"With all events, they come with a cost and we need to consider this as part of the budgetary process."

In 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria, the annual Dreamtime at the G clash was temporarily relocated to TIO Stadium in Darwin.

It was a huge event for the Territory with tickets to the game selling out quickly.

The Dreamtime game played in Darwin in 2020 was a huge spectacle for Top End AFL fans. (Image: Getty Images)

Richmond won the match 10.13 (73) to 10.1 (61) with Whadjuk Noongar man Shai Bolton winning the Yiooken Award for being judged best afield – only the second Indigenous player, with Tigers champion Shane Edwards the other, to have won the award.

The Dreamtime game was first held in 2005 and has quickly become one of the highlights on the AFL calendar.

The aim of the game is to honour and recognise the contribution of all Indigenous players to the AFL, past and present.

The AFLW have held a Dreamtime clash between the two powerhouse clubs ever since Essendon's admission into the competition in 2022.

The Tigers won the first-ever AFLW Dreamtime game by two points in a wet contest at North Port Oval, while the Bombers won last year's match 8.5 (53) to 5.6 (36) at Ikon Park.

Richmond vice-captain Sarah Hosking told the ABC that she supported the potential move.

"In my opinion it's a no-brainer to do it ... it would be incredible because you've got such a huge representation of Indigenous people," she said.

"It's not just about football and what we get to play, it's that broader perspective and really embracing our Indigenous culture as Australia and as a whole and really opening up that learning experience too, and I think football is a great avenue to do that."

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