Crows, AFLNT to end partnership ahead of 2020 season

ADELAIDE will part ways with AFL Northern Territory at the end of the 2019 winter season in September.

The two parties have been aligned since submitting a combined bid for an AFLW licence ahead of the competition's first season in 2017. 

As the AFLW has a state-based draft, the alliance allowed players based in Darwin to be signed by Adelaide.

The Crows – who won AFLW flags in 2017 and 2019 – have had a training base in the northern city for the past three seasons, with an assistant coach running sessions for the players who live there.

Adelaide players have also played for the NT Thunder in the VFLW during the AFLW off-season, with the Victorian winter competition considered a higher standard than the Adelaide Footy League, which is also played during winter.

The state SANFLW competition currently runs simultaneously with the AFLW.

Over time, the number of Adelaide players based in Darwin has decreased, with just Danielle Ponter and Angela Foley on the Crows' books in 2019. 

This year's AFLW leading goalkicker Stevie-Lee Thompson, Jasmyn Hewett and Sally Riley (both now at Gold Coast) all started in the Northern Territory but were living in Adelaide for the 2019 season.

Jasmyn Hewett in action for the NT Thunder in the VFLW competition

Industry sources suggest another AFLW club will now align with the Northern Territory, but the Crows will continue to support their own NT-based players, with plans for training to still held in Darwin.

Adelaide provided the following statement in regard to the change:

"Our partnership with AFLNT played an integral role in increasing the popularity of women's football and improving talent pathways in the central corridor of Australia, while also helping to deliver on-field results including two premierships.

"Given the changing landscape and growth of the women's game, it is an appropriate time to look towards fresh opportunities and partnerships, which can further add to the strong platform we have established."

AFLNT CEO Stuart Totham said female footballers would still be looked after.

"With the AFLW competition expanding in 2020, we’ve been having some positive discussions with other AFLW clubs and should soon be in a position to announce an exciting new partnership, which will continue the pathway for NT talent to get to the elite level, which has underpinned our decisions to-date and remains our key focus," Totham told aflnt.com.au.

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