The Northern Territory Football Club aka NT Thunder was established in 2009 to utilise the power of Australian Rules Football in tackling anti-social behaviour, deliver educational outcomes and provide employment opportunities for Territorians. NT Thunder recognises the fact Australian Rules Football is the language that breaks all barriers across the NT and through a diverse and unique set of core objectives the club has cemented its place as a high profile, successful sporting organisation that provides life changing opportunities, penetrates cultural differences and adds significant value to the local community.
NT Thunder competes in the North Eastern Australian Football League (NEAFL). The competition boasts four AFL reserves teams from the Brisbane Lions, Gold Coast Suns, Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney. Travel is a regular challenge for the team as games are played in Darwin, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney and Canberra. Access to a state league competition whilst living at home has never been an option for aspiring AFL players from the Northern Territory. With the inception of NT Thunder players now don’t have to move interstate to access a pathway and receive professional services in their quest to be the next Michael Long, Andrew McLeod or Cyril Rioli.
The objectives of the Northern Territory Football Club are unique and not just targeted to on field results. Playing for NT Thunder comes with great responsibility in delivering the clubs community engagement programs as role models and more importantly a player must be in gainful employment, attending school or studying to be eligible to play for the club
The latest statistics show that 30,081 Territorians now play Australian Rules Football in some way, shape or form. This represents an astonishing 13% of the entire population after the sport experienced a record breaking 29% growth in participation in 2012. The popularity of the game looks set to continue with a 10% growth already recorded in women’s football through schools, remote programs and participation in local competitions.
The club’s operation encompasses the width and breadth of the Territory with opportunities provided for players from the Tiwi Island’s, Nhulunbuy, Maningrida, Katherine, Hermannsburg, Ti Tree, Barunga, Groote Eylandt, Wadeye, Galiwinku, Lajamanu, Ngukurr, Santa Teresa and of course Darwin and Alice Springs. Through these opportunities NT Thunder, the brand and concept, is instantly recognised in remote Aboriginal communities across the NT. Facts & achievements since the clubs inception:
- 12 AFL draftees including pre selection & rookie listings
- 49 employment outcomes for NT Thunder players
- 2011 Northern Conference Premiers
- 2011 NEAFL Champions
- 2012 U18 National Champions – Division 2
- On Average 60% of NT Thunder players are indigenous
NTFC Chief Executive Officer Jarred Ilett comments:
"The Northern Territory Football Club has proven results in building strong brand awareness and sense of community through leveraging our profile, success and footprint across the Northern Territory. We experience great success in working with all our corporate clients and sponsors such as McMahon Services, INPEX, McDonald’s, Pacific Aluminium and Coke Cola in fostering long term partnerships that deliver desired outcomes for both parties. The club also enjoys a healthy long term partnership with the NT Government and Australian Government. NT Thunder is the Territory’s link between remote communities and the big stage of the AFL."