Reds Darwin-bound

Top End football fans will see national stars in action when Adelaide United FC take-on the best of Darwin’s football talent at Marrara later this month.

“I am pleased to announce that the A-League club will bring their star-studded team to Darwin Football Stadium at Larrakia Park to take on Darwin’s NorZone All Stars team on Tuesday August 26,” Chief Minister Adam Giles said.

“We know soccer is incredibly popular in the Top End with more than 3500 registered players and a strong multi-cultural community of fans, so we’re expecting a big crowd to turn out and support this game.

“The match will be part of the FestivalsNT program of events, which will expand and showcase the Territory’s program of sporting, artistic, cultural and business events.”

Mr Giles said the Adelaide United Darwin exhibition game is an extension of the Government’s existing agreement with the Club that will see it play trial matches, pre-season fixtures and hold training camps in Alice Springs over the next three years.

“We are delighted to extend our two-year agreement with Adelaide United to three years and have big things in store for Darwin’s soccer fans into the future.

“As well as the All Stars game, we are currently in negotiations to secure high-profile international teams to take on Adelaide United in Darwin in the coming years. We’ll have more to say about that over the coming months,” he said.

Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing Matt Conlan said the game against the Darwin All Stars was the chance of a lifetime for local players to test their skills against the best in the business.

“This is a great way to further promote the game and give our local talent a close-up look at elite sport," he said.

“Adelaide United have done great work in Central Australia as part of our agreement, launching development and Indigenous programs throughout the region and we look forward to seeing them in Darwin now as well.”

Adelaide United CEO Michael Petrillo said the club was pleased to be further bolstering its partnership with the Northern Territory Government by bringing the squad to Darwin.

“It’s important that our partnership with the NT is as extensive as we can make it and so being able to play a match in Darwin as well as in Alice Springs further confirms our commitment within the Territory,” he said.

“Having played there previously, we expect great support again at the Darwin Football Stadium to watch us play against the local Darwin All Stars.”

Football Federation NT Chief Executive Officer, Craig Chapman, expects the match to draw a big crowd.

“It is fantastic for local players to be able to take the field against an A-League team and this will generate a lot of excitement in the local football community,” he said.

“The All Stars team will be a combination of up and coming local youth talent, for whom the game will be a fantastic developmental opportunity, as well as more experienced players, who will help ensure that the All Stars are a competitive unit.”

The NorZone All-Stars squad will be coached by NorZone Premier League reigning premiership coach John Tsaknis from the Hellenic club, and the manager will be Alex Boubaris, also of Hellenic.

A selection panel chosen by Football Federation NT has picked the provisional squad, which comprises at least one player from each NorZone Premier League club – University Azzurri, Casuarina, Darwin Olympic, Port Darwin, Hellenic, 1st Brigade, Mindil and Palmerston.

The Adelaide United match is the latest addition to an already packed top level sporting calendar in Darwin this year, which has seen Melbourne Demons and Parramatta Eels play their respective AFL and NRL matches in the Top End and an international cricket series played in Darwin and Palmerston.

The Territory Government has provided an extra $70,000 through FestivalsNT to bring the additional Adelaide United game to Darwin in 2014.

Adelaide United play their trial game against Melbourne City in Alice Springs on 23 August before heading to Darwin to play the All Stars on the 26th.

Tickets for the Darwin match will go on sale next week through Football Federation NT. Pre-sales will be available at Larrakia Park, as well as being available at the gate on the night of the match. Gates open at 5.30pm and the match kicks off at 7pm.