In a first for the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL), Under 21 and Open representative teams of the Northern and Eastern Conferences will play off this weekend at Southport.
The Northern Conference side comprises the best of the ten teams from Queensland and the Northern Territory. Likewise the Eastern Conference team is made up of the best of their eight regular sides.
With South Australia and Tasmania also hosting representative games it is the first time state leagues throughout Australia have a fixtured bye allowing for the representative matches to be played at the same time. Matches between the state teams will be rotated over a six-year period.
While teams will be wearing state guernseys, the matches are not state of origin, players will be representing the league in which they play in.
AFL General Manager National and International Development Andrew Dillon said he is anticipating a high standard of football.
“For the first time state league players have the chance to play in a structured representative format.
“It will be a great opportunity to see the best players outside the AFL. AFL recruiters will be watching closely, last year 37 mature-aged players were drafted from state leagues,” he said.
AFL Queensland General Manager of Football Mark Browning said that fans could expect the host side to rise to the occasion.
“Queensland/Northern Territory players are very passionate and driven when it comes to representative football,” said Browning.
“The format will showcase the massive pool of talent we have playing at State level, and while we would certainly love a win, our ultimate goal is to use this as a vehicle to get more players into the AFL.”
State League representative matches
All matches will be played on Saturday May 26.
Match Three Fankhauser Reserve, cnr Musgrave St & Olsen Ave, Southport
11.15am NEAFL Northern Conference v NEAFL Eastern Conference
9:00am QLD/NT v NSW/ACT U21s
This matched will be streamed live via www.neafl.com.au
Match Two Gliderol Stadium, Brighton Road, Glenelg East
2.10pm SANFL v WAFL
11.25pm SA U18s v SA U20s
Match Three Blundstone Arena, Derwent Street, Bellerive
1.10pm TSL v VFL
10am Tasmania U18s v North Ballarat Rebels