Stu Totham presents at the TIO CAFL Footy Forum

Stu’s Views – CEO update on Thunder end of season, NTFL and remote footy

05.08.18 15:39

Dear Members,

As we head into August I thought it was an opportune time to write to you as we aim to finish off our Thunder seasons strongly while turning our attention to the regional and remote league competitions that will soon move into their finals. We are also starting to gear up for another big TIO NTFL season.

On that, the 2018/19 TIO NTFL Men’s Premier League fixture will be released mid-next-week, and there’s plenty for fans to get excited about.

This year more than ever before the football operations team worked in collaboration with clubs, with each of them given an opportunity to have input and share feedback on last year’s fixture and also put forward key club priorities for the upcoming season. As a result, we believe we have landed with a fixture that is fair and promises to deliver another great season of exciting, competitive NTFL footy.

Triple headers will return to TIO Stadium as a regular feature, and with a nice spread of games across venues and time slots, it means that fans will be able to jam-pack their wet season weekends with Territory footy.

Next week we will also announce the updates to the NTFL By-Laws. These were formed off the back of club feedback, and worked through the NTFL Laws Committee (which was made up of both club and AFLNT representatives) and endorsed by AFLNT Executive. On the back of some significant changes to the by-laws last year, the changes this year are relatively minor and have been made with the aim to provide greater clarity to existing rules and to bring about consistency and fairness across the different divisions and clubs.

But before we move into the NTFL fully, we still have our Thunder seasons to see out.

In our tenth year, the club has once again had a very busy year both on and off the field.

Our ThunderW team has had an outstanding inaugural season and are sitting in second place on the ladder going into Round 13. Should we win this weekend against Williamstown and fifth-placed Darebin lose, we are assured of a finals berth. The hard work and dedication by our players and support staff has got us to this point. Well done to Tim and the team, we wish you well as you push on into finals.

While our Thunder men haven’t got the desired results on the field, there are some positives to draw upon, including the number of young and talented Territory players being given the opportunity to play. This young group getting experience now will hold us in good stead in the coming years. Talent like Dominic Forbes, Matt Green, Jamie Hampton, Beau Schwarze, and Izaak Wyatt are relishing the opportunity to play senior football. And Michael Mummery, who can forget what he has had to overcome to get back out there? If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, then there’s a great read here. Joe Anderson and Abe Ankers have both had outstanding seasons, and we should see them polling well in the Ilett Medal count which is coming up as part of the Club Champion event at the end of this month.

I can also assure all our Thunder members and supporters that we are all disappointed with the way our Thunder men’s season has panned out. We have started plotting and planning for next season and beyond, plans which I will be in a position to share with you at a later date.

A big THANKYOU to all our Thunder volunteers and support staff, without your passion and support we could not provide our players with the opportunity to play and once again in 2018 you have been amazing!

Our members’ half time draw thanks to Tatts continues to be popular at home games, and it’s great to see so many members on hand to receive their prizes. All members are in the running to win the awesome AFL Grand Final prize when it’s drawn at our last home game on Saturday the 18th of August. This draw is our opportunity to thank you for being part of our season and an integral part of our club, but you have to be here on the night to be in the running.

On the community side of things, we continue to partner and support important organisations and activities such as the NO MORE Campaign, White Ribbon, NAIDOC week, Starlight Foundation and Strong Voice Positive Choice, just to name a few.

But we couldn’t do any of this without the unwavering support of our sponsors, so we thank them for their ongoing patronage and for backing us in.

Last week, AFLNT Competitions Manager, Darryl Griffiths and I got to see first-hand just how much Territorians love their footy when we went for a road trip, travelling from Darwin to Alice Springs via Katherine and Tennant Creek.

The road trip allowed us to meet with the various community and football stakeholders in each area to discuss where footy currently stands and which direction we, as a collective, would like to see it go in.

The Alice Springs TIO Footy Forum marked the conclusion of our road trip and was well attended with 33 people taking part. It was a fantastic night of brainstorming and discussing what is working well, what isn’t working and where people want football in Central Australia to go in the future. I was pleased to see such a vast range of parties represented on the evening with people in attendance from the Melbourne Football Club, NT Police, Barkly Reginal Council, Federal FC, Rovers FC, Souths FC, West FC, Outback Stores, Corrections, Yeperenye, Sports Medicine and the Right Tracks Program (Redtails/Pinktails).

What was evident throughout the trip and meetings, was the passion for footy and desire of local people to do more and grow our game. Our job at AFLNT is to drive and facilitate this growth with the support of these communities and all stakeholders.

The meetings and discussions are only the beginning of this process, the team and I will be focused and working hard to share the consolidated outcomes, with the aim to put in place working goals and a strategy for each of the regions.

I hope to see you at the footy next weekend and again on Saturday the 18th for the big NT Thunder double header.

Stu Totham