By Nick Creely
The AFL has officially confirmed its start date for the leading under-18 competition in the country, the NAB League, with the boys competition set to get underway on Saturday 22 August, albeit with a shortened season.
On Wednesday 17 June, just a day after the VFL announced it would kick its season off on 1 August, the AFL confirmed the date, officially informing clubs of the plan’s for a season to commence.
All 12 sides will compete in a six-week season, splitting the clubs between Metro and Country conferences, and play five rounds within the conferences and then a final in the sixth round between the top-placed side in each division for the premiership. The lower-ranked clubs will play off against a side in the opposing conference in the final round of the competition.
There is still work to be done in regards to Tasmania’s involvement in the NAB League this season, with current Covid-19 restrictions to play a big part.
In regards to the NAB League girls competition, the 2020 competition will recommence with a further three matches to be played to complete a six-week season, with the first match to be played on Saturday 5 September.
With the first three rounds of the competition played in March, a further two rounds will need to be played before the finals weekend for all clubs.
There is also hope that representative games for boys and girls will be played in late September or Early October, potentially in tandem with the NAB AFL Draft Combine, giving AFL clubs another chance to have a look at the prospective draftees before the draft.
AFL head of talent pathways and state league competitions Tristan Salter told AFL.com.au that getting the NAB League up and running in some capacity was vitally important for the competition.
“All levels of the game across the country have been impacted by the health pandemic this year. While we would prefer to provide a standard season of NAB League football, this outcome ensures an opportunity for many players to continue their journey in the talent pathway,” he said.
“We know how much these competitions mean to players, coaches, officials, volunteers and fans and we look forward to working together to ensuring all clubs return to play in a safe and well managed environment.”
“We are excited about the return of community and school footy and players are being encouraged to engage in these formats before returning to test themselves in the NAB League competition.”