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The AFL today announced key changes for the 2013 FOXTEL Cup competition that will now see the best teams from each state join the competition.

AFL General Manager National and International Development Andrew Dillon said the AFL had moved to secure the top two teams from each of the WAFL, VFL and SANFL entry to the FOXTEL Cup competition, while the four leading teams from the TFL / NEAFL would play qualifier matches to win the right to join the first round of matches against the leading state league sides.

For the first time in the competition’s three years, the leading SANFL sides, 2012 Grand Finalists Norwood and West Adelaide, will join the leading WAFL and VFL teams – reigning champions Claremont, East Fremantle, Werribee and Port Melbourne. Queanbeyan, Southport, Burnie and the NT Thunder will play qualifying games to join the six leading sides in round one.

All matches in round one, the semi finals and the Grand Final will now be played on Tuesday nights, to maximise exposure for competing clubs and players.

Mr Dillon said the competition had been altered from its 16-team format to a 10-team format, in recognition of the fact that the competition should complement the state league seasons and not compromise any team’s pursuit of its state league premiership with too many extra matches.

An SANFL, VFL or WAFL side would now be required to win three knockout matches to claim the title, rather than four, while teams from the developing states will have the opportunity to play each other in qualifying matches, before progressing to play the more established sides.

Claremont will defend its title and all major matches will again be broadcast on the FOX FOOTY Channel in prime-time on Tuesday nights.

The 2012 competition saw three players on show who were subsequently chosen at last month’s NAB AFL Draft on the Gold Coast – Claremont’s Tom Lee, Port Magpies’ Tim Broomhead and West Perth’s Mark Hutchings — providing the opportunity for state league players to push for higher honours, as well as the remaining opportunities to be picked at the upcoming NAB AFL Pre-Season and Rookie Drafts

“The Foxtel Cup will now have all the best state league teams on show, with the confirmation that SANFL premiers Norwood and runners-up West Adelaide will be part of the revised format,” Mr Dillon said.

“The competition has its primary goals to provide opportunities for state league teams to increase their professionalism, while allowing further chances for state league players to push for opportunities with AFL clubs.

“In recognition of the altered format for the 2013 Foxtel Cup, the winning team will now claim a first prize of $100,000.

All matches will again consist of four quarters each of eighteen (18) minutes set time, plus time-on from the last 3 minutes only (20 minutes approximately total per quarter), to lessen the load on players as well as to enable games to fit into a two-hour broadcast window.

A final fixture is attached and the competition has again been fixtured so that club commitments are spread during the course of their state league seasons:

Qualifying Round: Two qualifying knockout matches for NEAFL / TFL teams to be played in the period between April 13-20.

Round One: Four round two knockout matches to be played in the period between May 21 – June 18.

Semi Finals: Two knockout semi-final matches to be played on July 9 and July 16.

Grand Final: Grand Final to be played on Tuesday August 6. Venue to be determined dependent on the competing teams.

The Fixture is Below:

Qualifying ROUND Q1) Saturday 13 April Queanbeyan vs. NT Thunder Manuka Oval 11.35am Fox Sports 3 – 5.00-7.00pm Q2) Saturday 20 April Southport vs. Burnie Metricon Stadium 2.35pm Fox Sports 3 – 5.00-7.00pm

Round ONE 1) Tuesday 21 May Norwood vs. East Fremantle AAMI Stadium 8.05pm Fox Footy – 8.30-10.30pm 2) Tuesday 28 May Werribee vs. Winner Q1 Etihad Stadium 8.35pm Fox Footy – 8.30-10.30pm 3) Tuesday 11 June Port Melbourne vs. West Adelaide MCG 8.35pm Fox Footy – 8.30-10.30pm 4) Tuesday 18 June Claremont vs. Winner Q2 Patersons Stadium 6.35pm Fox Footy – 8.30-10.30pm

Semi Finals SF1) Tuesday 9 July Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2 TBC TBC 8.35pm Fox Footy – 8.30-10.30pm SF2) Tuesday 16 July Winner Match 3 vs. Winner Match 4 TBC TBC 8.35pm Fox Footy – 8.30-10.30pmGrand Final GF) Tuesday 6 August Winner SF1 vs. Winner SF2 TBC TBC 8.35pm Fox Footy – 8.30-10.30pm

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