Melbourne will no longer play home games in Darwin with Gold Coast to host opponents at TIO Stadium for the next four years as part of the arrangement that has seen the Northern Territory capital become part of the Suns’ talent academy zone.
The Demons will continue to play one home game in Alice Springs each season but their stretch of 10 years of home games in Darwin has ended giving Melbourne an extra fixture at the MCG each season.
The arrangement to play home games in Darwin has been financially beneficial to Melbourne as they re-established their balance sheet which took a hammering after years without on-field success, however chief executive Gary Pert said the move back to the MCG was great for their supporters.
“Supporters have made it very clear to the club they would love to see the Darwin home game return to the MCG as soon as possible, so they can watch their team live and share in the excitement,” Pert said.
“This is something we have been working on with the AFL for quite some time. However, it was important the timing coincided with the opportunity to return the game to our traditional home, the MCG, rather than other alternatives.”
The move was inevitable once the AFL decided to make Darwin part of the Suns’ academy zone with Gold Coast logically playing a home game in the region each season.