NAB Cup kickoff this weekend
Monday, February 11 2013 @ 10:22 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
As AFL fans prepare to see how their team is shaping up in 2013, the pre-season competition was ushered in by two of the highest profile off-season free agents, Essendon’s Brendon Goddard and Collingwood’s Clinton Young, along with one of the game’s brightest new recruits, Western Bulldogs rookie Jackson Macrae.
Essendon, Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs will kick off this year’s NAB Cup with all three teams taking on each other at Etihad Stadium this Friday, February 15 (from 6.45pm).
Whether it's a rookie selected early in the 2012 NAB AFL Draft or those established players who have moved clubs via free agency in the off-season, this year’s NAB Cup once again provides the first chance to ‘see how they shape up’ ahead of the Toyota AFL Premiership Season.
The NAB Cup is the AFL’s national pre-season competition spanning five weeks with matches played in every state and territory across Australia.
The 2013 NAB Cup will once again take elite level football to numerous regional areas around the country, including Wangaratta (Vic), Townsville (Qld), Wagga (NSW), Renmark (SA), Mandurah (WA), Alice Springs (NT).
The AFL is pleased to announce Australian Red Cross as the official charity partner of the 2013 NAB Cup. Volunteers will be attending all 25 matches throughout the competition, collecting donations on behalf of Red Cross with money going to a variety of programs, from disaster relief to providing a healthy breakfast for thousands of children who would otherwise go to school hungry.
The 2013 NAB Cup will again comprise of a triangular format during the first round only, with three teams competing at the one venue on the same day. The first round will again feature pools of three teams with each club playing two shortened matches comprising of 20-minute halves across a three-hour window. The remaining rounds will be full-scale matches.
The two best-performed teams in the opening three rounds will compete in the NAB Cup Grand Final on either Friday March 15 or Saturday March 16.
AFL Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Demetriou, said the NAB Cup provides an ideal link between the elite level of the game and the community.
“The NAB Cup has always had a very deliberate focus on the community and strong community support is the backbone of our game,” Mr Demetriou said.
“For fans there is always a great deal of excitement around the NAB Cup because it offers the chance to see how their team is tracking at the start of the year following the introduction of some new faces and new game plans.
“This year is no different as we look forward to the debut of a number of exciting new recruits whether they are new coaches, those young players coming direct from the NAB AFL Draft or those players who will debut in new club colours via free agency.
“This is the eighth year NAB has sponsored the national prep-season competition and their support continues to benefit the game significantly from the grassroots right through to the elite level.”
National Australia Bank’s Group Executive Wholesale Banking, Rick Sawers, said NAB was delighted the NAB Cup would again extend to reach many Australian communities.
“The great thing about the NAB Cup is that it allows us to take the AFL to thousands of people around the country, allowing fans to witness first-hand the thrills and spills of Australia's Game. I know our employees and customers in regional towns such as Wangaratta, Townsville and Wagga are keenly anticipating the arrival of live AFL action," Mr Sawyers said.
"Whether it’s the stars of tomorrow playing in their debut game, or established players lining up with a new team, the NAB Cup guarantees a good show, and one that can be enjoyed by all.
"Through the breadth of our partnership - from NAB Cup, NAB AFL Auskick and the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program - we are passionate about growing the game and we look forward to doing just that again in 2013”.
Throughout each round of the 2013 NAB Cup, except round one, the use of three interchange players and one substitute player on the interchange will be trialled with a cap of 20 interchanges per quarter. It has already been determined that the three interchange and one substitute player system without a cap will remain in place for 2013 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Each round one match of the 2013 NAB Cup will permit six interchange players (no substitutes).
This year’s NAB Cup will again see nine points awarded for a NAB Supergoal kicked from outside the 50m arc. For every NAB Supergoal kicked, NAB will donate $500 worth of Sherrins to the goal kicker’s junior football club.
Tickets to all Round 1-3 NAB Cup matches are now on-sale through Ticketek (Manuka Oval), Ticket Shop (Townsville) and Ticketmaster for all other venues. Ticket offers for children under 15 will be available around NAB Cup matches in rounds 1-3. For more details visit www.afl.com.au
The match-time schedule for the round one, three-way match-ups in the 2013 NAB Cup is as follows (all times are local, and the timings for games 2/3 are approximate):
Friday February 15, Etihad Stadium; Essendon v Western Bulldogs (6.45pm), Western Bulldogs v Collingwood (7.50pm), Collingwood v Essendon (8.55pm)
Saturday February 16, Patersons Stadium; Fremantle v Geelong (4.40pm), West Coast v Geelong (5.45pm), Fremantle v West Coast (6.50pm)
Sunday February 17, AAMI Stadium; Adelaide v St Kilda (4.10pm), Port Adelaide v St Kilda (5.15pm), Adelaide v Port Adelaide (6.20pm)
Friday February 22, Etihad Stadium; North Melbourne v Melbourne (6.45pm), Melbourne v Richmond (7.50pm), Richmond v North Melbourne (8.55pm)
Saturday February 23, Metricon Stadium; Gold Coast Suns v Hawthorn (6.40pm), Brisbane v Hawthorn (7.45pm), Gold Coast v Brisbane Lions (8.50pm)
Sunday February 24, Blacktown International Sportspark Sydney; GWS v Carlton (4.40pm), Sydney v Carlton (5.45pm), GWS v Sydney (6.50pm)