Sport in the Northern Territory

Many sports are played in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Australian rules football

The Tiwi Islands Football League is played in the Tiwi Islands. The Northern Territory Football League operates from Darwin. The Aboriginal All-Stars is also based in Darwin. The governing body for football in the territory is the AFL Northern Territory. Venues include the TIO Stadium in Darwin, and Traeger Park in Alice Springs.

2017 saw the launch of an eight-week inaugural national women's league, AFL Women's. NT women will play a prominent role in the Crows team, with the teams playing under a combined Northern Territory/South Australia banner.[1] There are eight clubs in the competition. As of the start of 2017, these NT teams have contributed the following players:

  • Wanderers: Sophie Armistead, midfield/defender; Stevie-Lee Thompson, midfielder.
  • Waratahs: Angela Foley, midfielder; Abbey Holmes, forward; Heather Anderson, defender; Lauren O'Shea defender/ruck.
  • St Marys: Tayla Thorn, utility.
  • Tracy Village: Sally Riley, utility.
  • Darwin Buffaloes: Jasmine Anderson, midfielder.[2]

In 2018 The Northern Territory government explored whether they could have a team in the Australian Football League.[3]


Cricket is administered by Northern Territory Cricket.[4]

Rugby league

Rugby league is administered by the Northern Territory Rugby League. The territory has the highest participation rate per capita for Rugby League than any other state governing body in Australia. The National Rugby League has conducted numerous clinics and hosted regular pre-season matches in the territory since 1998. Local domestic competitions are based in Darwin, Alice Springs, Katherine and Gove. A combined Northern Territory team also participates in the Affiliated States Championship.

Rugby union

Rugby union is administered by the Northern Territory Rugby Union. Local senior club competitions are based in Darwin, Alice Springs and Katherine. Clubs in Darwin have women's teams and junior competitions, and Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula has a junior rugby competition.[5]

The Heineken Hottest 7s in the World tournament is hosted in Darwin each January, with Rugby sevens club teams from countries including Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, and Singapore competing. Darwin's Hottest 7s, with a prize pool of $65,000 in 2013, is the richest Rugby sevens tournament in the Southern Hemisphere.[6]


The Darwin Cup culminating on the first Monday of August is a very popular horse race event for Darwin and draws large crowds every year to Fannie Bay Racecourse. The first Darwin Cup winner at Fannie Bay was Satan's Son in 1956.[7]


Darwin hosts a round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series every year, the Skycity Triple Crown, bringing thousands of motorsports fans to the Hidden Valley Raceway. The Hidden Valley Raceway facility also contains a drag strip as part of Hidden Valley Raceway's main straight, and a nearby Speedway, Northline Speedway, for short circuit dirt surface racing.

In the south of the Territory, Australia's biggest Off-Road Race, the Finke Desert Race is held over a long circuit which takes in the settlement of Aputula on the Finke River. The event is based out of Alice Springs.


The Football Federation Northern Territory is the governing body for football (soccer) in the Northern Territory. The Territory is also separated into three (Northern, Central and Southern) zones which have their own zone councils which administer leagues locally running their own league and cup competitions.

The Darwin Football Stadium was officially opened on 28 July 2007 when it played host to an A-League Pre-Season Cup game between Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory. On 2 July 2009, A-League teams, Adelaide United FC and North Queensland Fury played a pre-season friendly at the stadium.[8]

Reigning Football Federation Association Champions Adelaide United defeated Darwin Olympic 6-1 in a cup match at Marrara Oval in August 2015. Michael Tsounias scored the lone goal for the home side.[9]

Alice Springs's most successful soccer club is Alice Springs Celtic


Baseball NT is the governing body of baseball within the Northern Territory. Baseball NT is governed by the Australian Baseball Federation.

Organised baseball is played in Darwin, Alice Springs and Katherine. Darwin has four clubs; Nightcliff Tigers, Palmerston Reds, Pints and Tracy Village Rebels. The East Darwin Beasts disbanded in 1986 and the South Darwin Rabbitohs disbanded in 2004.

For a brief history of baseball in Darwin, see Darwin baseball league and Northern Territory Buffalos. In Darwin, baseball is a dry-season sport, played between April and September each year.

Alice Springs has five teams; Bulls, Cubs, Demons, Panther and Redbacks


The Northern Territory also hosts state and international sporting events. These have included:


  1. McGowan, Marc (27 December 2016). "St Mary's and Federal win flags while Territory Thunder makes a change at the top".
  2. "AFL Women's Quick Guide". 12 January 2017.
  4. Northern Territory Cricket Official Site
  5. "Territory Rugby Competitions". NTRU. Archived from the original on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  6. "Hottest 7s welcome". 27 January 2013. Archived from the original on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  7. "History | Darwin Turf Club". Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  8. Reds Head For The Top End FourFourTwo Australia, 15 May 2009
  9. Morris, Grey (6 August 2015). "Champs outclass Olympic". Northern Territory News.
  10. "Australia's 2013 Arafura Games cancelled". ABC News. 31 October 2012.
  11. Barich, Anthony (18 November 2003). "Darwin praised for cup victory". Northern Territory News.
  12. Earle, Richard (6 June 2003). "Test pitch goes in at Marrara". Northern Territory News.
  13. "Crick: Bangladesh buoyed by win over NT Chief Minister's XI". AAP Australian Sports News Wire. 13 July 2003.
  14. Michelmore, Karen (20 July 2003). "Crick: Bangladesh given a harsh, but positive lesson in cricket". AAP Australian Sports News Wire.
  15. "Cricketers commemorated". Northern Territory News. 18 July 2003.
  16. "Crik: Sri Lanka beats NT Chief Minister's XI in Darwin". AAP Australian Sports News Wire. 27 June 2004.
  17. Saltau, Chloe (4 July 2004). "Marrara wicket under attack". The Sunday Age.
  18. Feeney, Gordon (14 February 1994). "Racism battle not over yet". Northern Territory News.
  19. "14 000 at footy". Northern Territory News. 14 February 1999.
  20. Dampney, James (19 June 2005). "Dashing Dogs maul Carlton". Northern Territory News.
  21. Leitch, Chris (13 August 2006). "Power spark shocks Dogs". Northern Territory News.
  22. Morris, Grey (17 June 2007). "Freo toppled as Dogs leap to 7th". Northern Territory News.
  23. Morris, Grey (29 June 2008). "Hot Dogs in Top End". Northern Territory News.
  24. Australia v Bangladesh, 3rd ODI, Darwin September 6, 2008 Australia fend off Tamim to earn clean sweep Retrieved on 28 January 2016
  25. Witham, Jennifer (13 June 2009). "Dogs pulverise Power".
  26. "AFL: Bulldogs beat AFL's Suns in Darwin". AAP Australian Sports New Wire. 12 May 2012.
  27. "Western Bulldogs Vs Port Adelaide - Match Centre -". Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  28. "Pollies line up to see Eels play" (PDF). Centralian Advocate. 17 February 2015.
  29. "West Coast Eagles beat Melbourne Demons in Darwin, Jack Darling kicks five majors". ABC News. 4 July 2015.
  30. "Parramatta Eels beat Penrith Panthers 10-4 in Darwin thanks to late Reece Robinson try". ABC News. 10 August 2015.
  31. "Australia take Davis Cup to lawns of Darwin". ABC News. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  32. "Lleyton Hewitt guides Australia to David Cup quarter final win". ABC News. 19 July 2015.
  33. McGowan, Mark (20 July 2015). "Darwin tennis fans vote with feet". NT News.
  34. "You can get a gawk at Hawk's premiership trophies". Northern Territory News. 16 November 2015.
  35. Shields, Wayne (12 January 2016). "Former Essendon players Alwyn Davey and Leroy Jetta banned from playing for Palmerston Magpies this weekend".
  36. Morris, Grey (27 February 2016). "Peter 'The Chief' Graham awarded controversial points win in heavyweight title fight after accidental head clash opens cut over his right eye". NT News.
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