AFL's Suns see crowd chance for NT match

Shayne Hope

The Gold Coast Suns remain hopeful of hosting an AFL match - complete with crowd - in the Northern Territory this season.

Under a deal struck with the NT government last year, the Suns were due to host St Kilda at Darwin's TIO Stadium on June 13.

The plan was dealt a blow when the coronavirus pandemic forced the AFL into shutdown in March.

But with the league poised to announce its return-to-play plan in the coming days, Suns chief executive Mark Evans said the club was eager to breathe new life into the NT concept.

"We are still quite interested in playing a game in the Northern Territory late in the year, which could have crowds," Evans told ABC Grandstand on Sunday.

"If you had some possibility of some of the jurisdictions having crowds sooner than the others, then I think you would like to take advantage of that if you could."

Evans' comments follow the NT government's plan to resume competitive sport with crowds from next month.

Australian sporting codes had previously all but given up hope of staging matches with spectators this year.

But with just 29 confirmed coronavirus cases in the NT, the state government is already moving to ease restrictions.

"You can play a footy game, you can have a crowd," NT chief minister Michael Gunner told Sky News this week.

"It's the dry season up here in Darwin, it's a magic place to be.

"So for me, that's a massive attraction I would've thought to anybody, including the AFL."