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New Era Commences!

After months of speculation the AFL has announced the new North East Australian Football League. It has been a massive week for football in the AFL Canberra Region as this announcement followed the new GWS AFL Club agreeing to a 10 year affiliation with the AFL Canberra / ACT Government which will see the new club play 40 AFL games in Canberra over the next 10 years and it’s Reserves to play in the new expanded competition.

Please find below a news article from the Queanbeyan Age Friday 19th November.

A NEW ERA commences! By Queanbeyan Age Sports Correspondent – Josh Spasaro

QUEANBEYAN Tigers fans are in for a treat in 2011 when a new AFL competition will revolutionise grassroots football in the district

From next season, the Tigers will take part in the inaugural North East Australian Football League. This competition will be split into two divisions – a northern and eastern conference.

A feature of this competition will be the high level exposure all players will receive. The Tigers now have two AFL Reserve Grade teams which will play in their eastern conference – Sydney Swans along with the new Greater Western Sydney GIANTS franchise.

The other four AFL Canberra teams from last season will also play in this conference.

AFL footballers in Queanbeyan now have a much better chance of snaring lucrative AFL contracts because there will be more talent scouts on hand watching them in action. On top of that, Queanbeyan will have the privilege of playing against some of the best footballers from the Northern Territory and Queensland through the winter season.

The AFL will fund interstate trips to play games against northern conference teams featuring the best clubs from Brisbane, Gold Coast and Alice Springs. What’s more, the northern conference will feature Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns Reserve Grade AFL sides.

New Tigers First Grade Coach Rod O’Riley could not have taken the reigns at a more exciting time.

“It’s a great time to be here,” he said.

“Players that want to go far in the game don’t have to relocate to South Australia or Western Australia anymore. “To play football in this region now gives them a vehicle to be recruited by GWS or Gold Coast.”

Despite the advantages, there will be an increased workload for Queanbeyan footballers from next season. On top of their 18 rounds during the regular season, the winner of the Eastern Conference will play the winner of the Northern Conference.

This will be seen as a ‘super finale’ – the grand final that will decide the NEAFL premier team. That is not all.

An additional ‘champions league’ knockout competition has been mooted by the AFL which will involve the best 16 teams across the VFL, WAFL, SANFL and the new NEAFL. This could take place from April to early August starting in 2012.

But O’Riley believes a big pre-season will have his charges ready for a potentially longer and no doubt tougher 2011 season.

“We’re keen to embrace it,” he said.

“Especially in an area like this where we previously haven’t had this kind of high level exposure. “Our pre-season starts on Monday and we’re going to hit the ground running.

“We’ve got keen young guys here that would play all year round anyway.”

Tigers’ assistant coach Adrian Pavese believes the strength of AFL in Queanbeyan and the ACT is now set to be recognised by a larger audience.

“The AFL has always seen our region as a strong one and the proof is through the Swans being encouraged to play down here,” he said.

“Outside of that though, the Canberra competition has been viewed as a weak one because we only had six teams. “That will now change and this is a massive boost for the code.”

Long serving Tigers General Manager Ron Fowlie believes the NEAFL competition signifies how much AFL in Queanbeyan has grown.

“I’ve been at this club a long time and I can’t remember anything more exciting than this,” he said.

“We’re a club that started off in humble circumstances at the old Queanbeyan Park.“But now we could be playing games at grounds such as the SCG, Telstra Stadium and the Gabba – it’s unbelievable.”

The Queanbeyan Tigers Football Club welcomes the new competition and it will certainly add excitement to all of the players in the region. More information will be made available soon however if you click on the above PDF Link this will give you an over view of the planned new competition.

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