http://www.theage.com.au/news/Sport/Sto ... 42721.html
Storms brews over base for NT AFL team
June 29, 2007 - 3:09PM
A storm is brewing over where the Northern Territory's Australian Rules football team will have its base - in the steamy capital or the desert town of Alice Springs.
Territory football groups met this week to discuss plans to set up the team to play in either the SAFL
or the WAFL. (typical bloody Victorian journo mistake. Unless he's implying the WAFL is at the same level as the SA Amateur leagues, in which case he's right on the money)
NT member for Port Darwin Kerry Sacilotto issued a statement after the meeting saying it would be a natural choice for any team to be based in Darwin.
But member for Stuart Karl Hampton on Friday said he backed Alice Springs, claiming the town was at the heart of the territory.
"We have a proud tradition of producing great AFL players like Darryl White and current Kangaroo, Matthew Campbell," he said.
"I was born in Alice and I have spent most of my life playing, coaching and watching footy in Alice and I can swear to you one thing - Darwin may be the Capital of the Territory, but Alice is the territory's AFL Capital."
Nearly half the town's population attended AFL matches, Hampton said.
"Darwin can't match this," he said.
"After significant investment from the Martin government Traeger Park (in Alice Springs) is now an excellent venue for elite AFL training and games, let's use it."
Hampton said Darwin could still host at least a couple of games.
In addition, he said a new training academy should be tied to the new team.
"The first Clontarf Academy in the Territory has been established in Alice Springs.
"The academy is going to be a breeding ground for great footballers and it makes sense to link it with the territory's footy team."
"Unlike Darwin, we actually play footy in Alice at the same time as down south. Players resting from the territory team can run around in the local league, strengthening the local competition."
"We are a growing community, with a good track record on delivering and supporting sporting events - this is an easy decision for the AFL."
Earlier this month, billionaire businessman and Carlton chairman Dick Pratt said he supported a proposal to see the NT team join the SAFL as soon as next year.