THE heat will be dialled up a fraction more this summer for Griffith Swans captain-coach Guy Orton, who is off to try his hand in one of the most testing competitions in the country.
Last year's Jim Quinn medalist has signed with famed Northern Territory club St Marys for the 2013-14 NTFL season, which runs from October to March the thick of the sweltering Top End wet season.
The NTFL is the same competition where Swans scouts stumbled upon Orton, and it regularly attracts the cream of the semi-professional suburban and regional leagues across Australia due to the absence of a salary cap and the timing, which allows players an alternative option to a standard pre-season.
"It's a really good competition that's why I wanted to go back up there and have a crack while I'm still young enough," he said.
"I'd like to be able to say I did it a couple of times."
Reigning NTFL premiers St Marys is the most successful club in the NT and has a proud history of producing AFL talent, including Michael Long, Maurice Rioli, Cyril Rioli, Ronnie Burns and Peter Burgoyne.
"It's a very well- established club that's obviously won quite a few premierships over the years," Orton said.
"They've got a good reputation and a lot of AFL players started their careers there. It's a good club and they've got some good talent playing there."
Orton could also be on the lookout for potential recruits for Griffith next year even though he is still not locked in as captain-coach for 2014.
"I'm obviously pretty settled (in Griffith) I just don't know what I'm doing for footy next year," he said.
"But there's always options to talk to guys over there.
"They're doing the same thing as I'm doing they're not all locals, a lot of southerners go up there.
"You never know what could happen. That's where Griffith found me."
Swans president Jeff Harris said Orton's NTFL switch came with the club's blessing.
"It won't affect us too much. He'll obviously be a late arrival for pre-season but given he'll be playing up there he should be in pretty good nick," he said.
"We'll look at engaging someone within the club or someone externally to lead the pre-season runs while he's there."
Orton's first game for St Marys is likely to be the grand final rematch against the Tiwi Bombers on October 5 at TIO Stadium.
The competition wraps up on March 15.