The AFL has released the fixture for the 2022 NAB League Girls talent pathway competition, which starts on Saturday 22 January.
The future stars of women’s football will compete across a 10-week home-and-away season, culminating with the NAB League Girls Grand Final to be played on the weekend of 9/10 April.
The 2022 NAB League Girls competition is commencing earlier this year to more closely align to the NAB AFLW season. This means the season will conclude prior to the NAB AFLW National Championships for under 18 girls in April.
In further changes this year, there will be two additional home-and-away matches per team and longer quarters (increase from 17 minutes to 20 minutes), providing players with more experience at the elite talent pathway level and exposure to AFLW recruiters.
In a big start to the season, four matches will take place this Saturday, with Eastern Ranges and Calder Cannons getting the competition underway with a clash at Kilsyth.
A highlight of the opening round sees reigning premiers Oakleigh Chargers kick off their season against fellow 2021 finalists Northern Knights on Sunday 23 January. The Chargers will take on Geelong Falcons in the NAB League Girls Grand Final rematch in week four, Saturday 12 February.
Tasmania, after finishing second on the ladder in 2021, will open their campaign with three consecutive home games in Launceston, Penguin and North Hobart.
NAB League Girls matches will be showcased right across metropolitan and country Victoria, with games to be played in regional locations including Yarrawonga, Garfield, Morwell, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Wangaratta.
In addition to the 13 NAB League Girls teams playing on a weekly basis, teams representing Northern Territory, Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns have been fixtured to play one-off matches against NAB League Girls sides at different stages during the season, giving players from the Northern Territory and Queensland exposure and experience against some of the country’s best young talent.
While COVID-19 continues to impact the community, the health and welfare of players and the community remains the priority and all matches will operate in a safe manner based on advice of respective governments, public health officials and medical experts. Protocols are in place to protect players, officials, staff and the wider public at training and matches. These have been communicated to clubs. In November, the AFL released its Vaccination Policy for Talent Pathway Programs and Competitions, which can be viewed here. Spectators are allowed to attend matches in line with venue and government requirements.
An update on the streaming of NAB League Girls matches will be provided later in the week. The NAB League App, presented by Telstra, can be downloaded through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
NAB League Girls 2022 – Week 1 Fixture (Futures U16 game time in brackets)
Saturday 22 January
Eastern Ranges v Calder Cannons – Kilsyth Recreation Reserve, 10.30 am (12:30pm)
Tasmania v Sandringham Dragons – Prospect Park, Launceston, 12.00pm
Murray Bushrangers v Bendigo Pioneers – JC Lowe Oval, Yarrawonga, 1.00pm (11:00am)
GWV Rebels v Gippsland Power – Latrobe University, Bundoora, 1.00pm (11:00am)
Sunday 23 January
Northern Knights v Oakleigh Chargers – Latrobe University, Bundoora, 12.00pm (10:00am)
Geelong Falcons v Dandenong Stingrays – Deakin University, Geelong, 11.00am (1:00pm)
Bye – Western Jets
CLICK HERE for the full NAB League Girls 2022 season fixture.
NAB League Girls Conference and Finals system
- The NAB League Girls competition will comprise two conferences – a Country/Tasmania Conference (seven teams) and a Metro Conference (six teams)
- Country/Tasmania Conference: Tassie Devils, Dandenong Stingrays, Geelong Falcons, Greater Western Victoria Rebels, Murray Bushrangers, Bendigo Pioneers, Gippsland Power
- Metro Conference: Oakleigh Chargers, Eastern Ranges, Northern Knights, Calder Cannons, Western Jets, Sandringham Dragons
- Semi-Finals will be played on the weekend of 2/3 April (1 v 2 Country/Tasmania Conference and 1 v 2 Metro Conference) with the winner of each conference to contest the Grand Final
- Every team will play on the weekend of 2/3 April as part of the Semi-Finals weekend
- The Grand Final will be played on the weekend of 9/10 April. Day, time and venue TBC.
Representative Girls football
- NAB AFLW National Championships – Girls (U18) will take place in April after the conclusion of the NAB League Girls season
- Vic Metro will play Vic Country in week nine, the weekend of 19/20 March, before the squads reconvene for the NAB AFLW National Championships – Girls (U18) in April
- NAB AFLW National Development Championships – Girls (U16) will be played from May – July, timing TBC
- The Vic Metro v Vic Country Futures game (U16) will be played during week five, the weekend of 19/20 February
The 2022 NAB League Boys season will commence on April 2, with the fixture to be released closer to the start of the season.