Future is strong for NEAFL in NSW and the ACT

The future of the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL) is strong in NSW and the ACT after the league recently announced a five-year license extension agreement for participating clubs.

The 10-team NEAFL competition, comprising four clubs in NSW and the ACT, (Sydney Swans and GWS GIANTS plus non-AFL clubs Sydney University and Canberra Demons), is now locked in until the end of the 2021 season.

AFL State League and International Manager, Simon Laughton, said the long-term commitment by participating clubs will further enhance the growth of the game in the northern states.

“These license extensions are a significant boost to the long-term sustainability of the NEAFL competition,” he said.

“This confirmation will allow all clubs to continue to plan for and improve in to the future.

“We are pleased the existing clubs are committed to the NEAFL and providing a strong pathway for home-grown talent to reach the elite level.”

The NEAFL was formed in 2011 to improve the standard of second-tier football across Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

The competition began as a Northern and Eastern Conference format in 2011, and merged into a single league of 14 teams in 2014. The current 10-team competition has been effective since 2016.

Since the NEAFL commenced, 77 players have been drafted on to AFL lists, including the likes of St Kilda forward Josh Bruce, mature-age Melbourne rookie Aaron vandenBerg and 2016 NAB AFL Rising Star winner Callum Mills (Sydney).

Adding to the excitement of the 2017 NEAFL season will be the alignment of six northern AFL Academy Under-18 Series matches to be played as NEAFL curtain-raisers in the opening rounds.

Representative football will also return this year when the NEAFL plays the Tasmanian State League in Hobart on June 10.

With the last three NEAFL Grand Finals all decided by less than a goal, Laughton is excited at what the future holds for the competition.

“We are confident of building on the NEAFL’s growing tradition in the next five years, in addition to our continued commitment in facilitating the growth of the game in the northern states,” he said.

“It is an exciting time for the competition, which will showcase the next generation coming through during the AFL Academy Series this season as the NEAFL continues to grow in standard each year.”

The 2017 NEAFL season will commence on April 1. Please visit www.neafl.com.au for more information.