AFL's Dreamtime match to be played in Darwin

The AFL's annual 'Dreamtime' match will have a new setting in 2020, with the league announcing Darwin will host the showpiece clash of the Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round, this year to be Round 13.

With Victoria unable to host football matches due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the AFL has opted to send Essendon and Richmond to Darwin, with TIO Stadium to host the game.

According to, the match will be played on Saturday, Aug. 22. The remaining Round 13 fixtures are set to be released next week.

AFL General Manager of Social Policy and Inclusion, Tanya Hosch, said it was only fitting that this year's Dreamtime match was to be played in the top end, where so many Indigenous footballers honed their craft prior to playing AFL football.

She also recognised the "immense journey" the AFL has undertaken since the introduction of the league's Discrimination and Racial and Religious Vilification Act in 1995.

"Sir Doug Nicholls Round creates a platform to profile players who have changed the game's history and faced racism and discrimination to fight for equality and recognition, such as Carlton Champion and Wongatha man, Syd Jackson, our 2020 Sir Doug Nicholls Round honouree," she said in a statement.

"2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Discrimination and Racial and Religious Vilification Act which was introduced in 1995.

"This act signalled that racial and religious vilification would no longer be tolerated in Australian Football. We continue to prioritise an inclusive environment for all people within the industry and focus on identifying strategies targeted at the prevention of vilification before it occurs.

"Unfortunately racism has not been eradicated across the country, but with the leadership and dedication of our playing group, past and present, community leaders and industry leaders, we're able to collectively work towards a future with no racism in our game."

Meanwhile Richmond CEO Brendon Gale said the club was embracing the opportunity to play such a special game in Darwin.

"Dreamtime is a highly significant game for both Richmond and Essendon, and a major event on the AFL calendar," Gale said.

"The unique opportunity to play Dreamtime 2020 in Darwin is one that the whole Club looks forward to immensely."