TIO Stadium ahead of the 2019 match between Melbourne and Adelaide in Darwin. Picture: AFL Photos

THE AFL has been thrown a lucrative offer by Northern Territory's chief minister Michael Gunner to host games in front of crowds this year.

Australian sporting codes had all but resigned hope of staging matches with spectators in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

DARWIN CALLING Dons legend calls for NT hub

But with just 28 confirmed coronavirus cases in the Northern Territory, the government is already moving to ease restrictions.

This includes plans to resume competitive sport with crowds from June 5.


Gunner said the AFL should consider restarting its season in the Northern Territory - "the safest place in Australia".

"You can play a footy game, you can have a crowd," he told Sky News on Friday.

LATEST NEWS All your COVID-19 updates here

"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."


The AFL is considering putting clubs into isolation hubs for up to 20 weeks to restart the season, but League boss Gillon McLachlan says that remains the "most extreme scenario".

WHEN WILL FOOTY RETURN? Return to play roadmap revealed

McLachlan is awaiting key decisions from governments around Australia before making any announcement on the AFL resuming amid the pandemic.

Every state and territory has been considered for a potential hub base during recent weeks, including the Northern Territory, but the assumption had been crowds would still be barred.