New era in junior footy

The Dandenong Stingrays will be part of the new NAB League. 183170 Picture: ROB CAREW

A new era in under 18 football will begin in 2019 with the introduction of the NAB League.

NAB, a long-time partner of the NAB AFL Rising Star Program in Australia, will further support the future stars of the game, extending its partnership with the AFL to the next exciting phase of the expanded under 18 competition, that now includes teams from Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory, NSW/ACT and Queensland.

With a focus to provide further support in education, wellbeing, high performance and coaching, the NAB League will help increase opportunities for talented footballers to reach their potential both on and off the field.

It will also help better prepare the athletes that don’t get drafted, returning to local clubs and schools as peer leaders who set examples.

In a significant development for the national sport, the Tasmanian Devils will be a fully-fledged NAB League team in 2019, while an Academy Series featuring five northern state squads will take part in the lead up to the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.

AFL head of talent pathways and state league competitions, Tristan Salter, welcomed NAB’s involvement with the next chapter of growth in the under 18 pathway.

“NAB has been a fantastic supporter of our AFL talent pathways for 18 years now and it is exciting that they will extend their support and be naming rights partner for this new era,” Mr Salter said.

“Over 1,000 AFL and AFLW players, including the likes of Dustin Martin, Chloe Molloy, Gary Ablett Jnr and Madison Prespakis, have been drafted from Victoria’s under 18 competitions – with 2018 producing more than 50 percent of the boys (62%) and girls (59%) talent at the NAB AFL and AFLW Drafts.

“We welcome Tasmania to the competition in what will be the start of the team’s journey towards a return to the VFL competition.”

In a step forward for footy fans, a revamped digital platform, highlighted by the official NAB League app, will offer insights never before seen from the competition.

“The dedicated NAB League app will provide our audience with live information at their fingertips, from stats to game vision and match highlights,” Mr Salter said.

“The increased digital access to the competition and its players will help our audience learn more about our draft prospects across the entire season, not just around draft time.”

The NAB League girls’ competition begins on March 2 with the boys to start March 23. The NAB League app will launch mid-March.

This story was published on the AFL Victoria website.

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