Rep footy returns as AFL NSW/ACT offers more talent opportunities

The best senior players from AFL Canberra and AFL Sydney will play against Tasmania in 2024, giving them a chance to represent their club, league, state or territory.

The exciting news is part of a suite of new opportunities for metropolitan footballers to show their skills in an elevated setting. It will also allow aspirational coaches and umpires to strive for recognition beyond their local competitions, taking them interstate for formal match content.

The announcement of the new talent opportunities comes on the heels of the 2023 AFL Draft, which saw seven NSW/ACT products selected, the fourth most of any state in the country behind Victoria, WA and SA. Earlier this week, two players from NSW/ACT were selected in the 2023 AFLW All Australian side and Zarlie Goldsworthy (GIANTS) won the AFLW Rising Star Award.

AFL Canberra and AFL Sydney representative teams

Combined representative teams from AFL Sydney and AFL Canberra will be selected from a men’s match and a women’s match played between the two leagues in a double header in Canberra on 18 May.

Both AFL Sydney and AFL Canberra have a pause in senior competition during this weekend to ensure community footballers can embrace the concept and be free to play or attend the match without missing their club commitments.

The weekend falls on the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round, and the AFL Canberra vs AFL Sydney matches will recognise First Nations Australia, with cultural celebrations taking place before the matches and playing attire designed by First Nations artists.

The combined AFL Canberra and AFL Sydney men’s team and women’s teams will face Tasmania in Launceston on Saturday, 20 July 2024.

Summer Series

Following the success of the Women’s Summer Series in 2022 – a series in which a dozen women were drafted from – AFL NSW/ACT, the GIANTS Academy and the QBE Sydney Swans Academy have agreed to play another Summer Series in 2024, this time for males and females, and including Under 22 teams representing senior competitions from AFL Sydney and AFL Canberra.

The four-team, three-match U22 series will be played across three weekends in March across Canberra and Sydney.

AFL Canberra and AFL Sydney pre-season invitational

AFL NSW/ACT is also pleased to launch a new pre-season competition, pitting male AFL Canberra First Grade teams against AFL Sydney Premier Division teams across three weekends in March.

This opt-in tournament will give clubs the chance to sharpen their gameplans ahead of the regular season and provide opportunities for players vying for representative selection to be noticed against cross-competition opposition.

It also provides clubs and players an enhanced offering to prepare themselves for their respective competitions and provides an important opportunity to retain players through organised, varied, competitive and elevated content.

Women’s teams continue to have the option to join established summer competitions the AFLW Queanbeyan Cup and the Newtown Breakaways’ Pre-Season Women’s Challenge.

Tiffany Robertson, Head of NSW/ACT, said:
“I am incredibly excited to see senior players from AFL Canberra and AFL Sydney get the opportunity to strive for representative selection in 2024. The rep side is a chance to showcase Canberra and Sydney footy interstate and I’m sure our players and brand of footy will do us proud.

“The Summer Series and pre-season invitational are exciting prospects too. We saw the success of the Women’s Summer Series a couple of years ago in developing and identifying AFLW prospects and I see this series in same light for male players and female players, whether in the Academies or selected from AFL Sydney or AFL Canberra. I can’t wait to see what the players bring in these high-intensity competitions.”

Damian Gill, Head of AFL Tasmania, said:
“Tasmania’s ‘map’ guernsey is the best footy jumper in Australia and every time we get to see it on the field, it’s a special feeling – a privilege.

“We know how much our men’s and women’s players loved representing ‘the map’ this year in Tasmania’s Rep game against Queensland – an event which was a huge success.

“We expect the Tasmania v AFL Sydney and AFL Canberra combined men’s and women’s games next year to be just as exciting when the sides square off in our footy-loving State.”

Jason Saddington, GIANTS Academy, said:
“We can’t wait for the variety of the Summer Series, with our female and male Academy players taking on U22 senior opposition from AFL Canberra and AFL Sydney. It will be a great challenge for our Academy players to overcome and will further enhance their opportunities to be recognised as stars of the future. Thanks to AFL Canberra and AFL Sydney, as well as AFL NSW/ACT and the Swans for being involved.”

Leon Cameron, QBE Sydney Swans Academy, said:
“Adding teams from AFL Sydney and AFL Canberra to a Summer Series is an exciting prospect for our best Academy athletes. It gives Academy players and AFL Sydney and Canberra athletes a chance to be identified as talent for future programs.”