NAB League Boys

Last updated

NAB League Boys
Current season, competition or edition:
AFL current event.svg 2022 NAB League Boys season
NAB League vertical 2019.png
FormerlyTAC Cup (1992–2018)
Sport Australian rules football
Inaugural season1992
No. of teams13
Country Australia
Most recent
Oakleigh Chargers (5)
Most titles Calder Cannons (6)
Official website

The NAB League Boys (also referred to as simply the NAB League and formerly known as the TAC Cup) is an under-19 Australian rules football representative competition held in Australia. It is based on geographic regions throughout country Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne with each team representing twelve Victorian regions, while a thirteenth team from Tasmania was reintroduced in 2019. The competition is sponsored by National Australia Bank (NAB), having previously been sponsored by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) since its inception. [1]


The competition is one of the primary sources of recruitment for Australian Football League (AFL) clubs. It provides an opportunity for talented regional players to participate in a high standard competition without having to relocate too far from their place of origin. The competition has a very successful pathway with players missing AFL selection often being recruited by semi-professional state, country and regional leagues throughout Australia. An equivalent competition for female footballers, known as the NAB League Girls, is also contested on an annual basis.


With the focus of the VFL/AFL moving rapidly towards national competition, the old metropolitan and country Victorian zoning recruitment method for VFL/AFL clubs was phased out and at the start of 1992 the league's under-19 competition was disbanded.

A new competition, administered by the Victorian State Football League and sponsored by the Transport Accident Commission, was formed as an avenue to where many young Victorian under-18 players make their transition to becoming senior Australian Football League players. In 1992 the competition consisted of five metropolitan teams and one country team. The initial teams were the Northern Knights, Eastern Ranges, Southern Stingrays (renamed the Dandenong Stingrays in 1995), Western Jets, Central Dragons (renamed the Prahran Dragons in 1995, then the Sandringham Dragons in 2000) [2] and Geelong Falcons.

In 1993 an additional four country teams were included – the Murray Bushrangers, Bendigo Pioneers, Gippsland Power and Ballarat Rebels (renamed the North Ballarat Rebels in 1996, then the Greater Western Victoria Rebels in 2017). In 1995 two additional metropolitan regions were established with the Oakleigh Chargers and Calder Cannons teams included in the competition.

In 1995, a Tasmanian-based team, the Tassie Mariners, commenced in the competition, becoming the league's first non-Victorian side. The following year, the NSW/ACT Rams were admitted. The Mariners and Rams both exited the competition as full-time members at the end of the 2002, returning the competition to twelve teams.

The Gold Coast Football Club recruited several under-18s players in the 2008/09 summer, and participated in the TAC Cup in 2009 (before playing in the VFL in 2010 and the AFL from 2011). Similarly, the Greater Western Sydney Giants fielded a TAC Cup team in 2010, two seasons prior to its introduction to the AFL in 2012.

Four interstate teams—the Tassie Mariners, NSW/ACT Rams, Queensland Scorpions and the Northern Territory Thunder—each play a handful of games each year against TAC Cup teams, particularly in the lead-up to the annual AFL Under 18 Championships; these games are counted as part of the TAC Cup premiership season, but the interstate clubs are not eligible for the premiership. [3]

Between 1995 and 2008, the finals system was in a knock-out format. This reverted to a traditional finals system in 2009 with the introduction of the Gold Coast team. [4] In 2010, this was extended to include 12 of the 13 clubs participating that season, with the extra matches forming an extended knockout format. In 2011 the finals system was reverted to the traditional eight-team AFL finals series. Prior to the 2014 season, the NSW/ACT Rams was reestablished as a TAC Cup team, with players from the Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney Giants young academy sides being picked for the NSW/ACT team. [5]

From 2019, the newly named NAB League introduced six new teams: the AFL Academy sides of Gold Coast, GWS Giants, Sydney Swans, Brisbane Lions; the Northern Territory; and the returning Tassie Mariners, who were later renamed the Tasmania Devils. [6] Additionally, teams were able to include more 19-year-olds – previously only three could be selected. [7] The 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and from 2021 the competition fully transitioned from under-18s to under-19s – although the draft age to senior football remained at 18. [8]

Competition timeline

NAB League Boys

Age eligibility

For many years the league was primarily a competition for 18-year-olds, though exceptions were made for bottom-aged players—16- or 17-year-olds—and since 2007, over-age players—19-year-olds—to participate in the competition. In 2021 the league shifted to an under-19 level, though the entry age for the AFL Draft remains 18. [9]

Since the beginning of the 2007 TAC Cup season, clubs have been granted permission to select up to five over-age players permitted on their lists.[ citation needed ]

Nonetheless, age eligibility requirements remain for the AFL Draft, where players must have turned seventeen years of age by 30 April of that draft year to be eligible for selection by an AFL club.


Morrish Medal

The Morrish Medal is awarded to the best player in the competition each year. The same medal was previously awarded to the best player in the Victorian Football League Thirds/Under-19s competition, which the TAC Cup superseded.

TAC Cup Coaches Award

The TAC Cup Coaches Award is voted on by both coaches in a 5–4–3–2–1 format at the end of each game. [10] At the end of the 2015 season, the award was discontinued.

2015 Jade Gresham [11] Northern Knights
2014 Oscar McDonald [12] North Ballarat Rebels
2013 Louis Herbert [13] North Ballarat Rebels
2012 Jake Lloyd North Ballarat Rebels
2011Shaun Marusic Gippsland Power
2010 Adam Marcon Northern Knights
2009Anton Woods Northern Knights
2008 Rory Sloane Eastern Ranges
2007 Matthew Kreuzer Northern Knights
2006Andrew Horne Calder Cannons
2005 Richard Douglas Calder Cannons
2004 Adam Pattison Northern Knights
2003 Colin Sylvia Bendigo Pioneers
2002 Blake Grima Eastern Ranges
2001 Brad Miller
Russell Grigg
Western Jets
Bendigo Pioneers
2000Paul Carson Western Jets
1999 Leigh Brown Gippsland Power
1998Stephen Hazleman Gippsland Power
1997Matthew Bernes Tassie Mariners
1996 Tim Finocchiaro Eastern Ranges
1995 Jason Snell Eastern Ranges
1994Jason McFarlane Gippsland Power
1993 Angelo Lekkas Northern Knights
1992Brad Smith Northern Knights


All matches are live streamed on the AFL app.

Former coverage included:

Clubs history

TeamRegion(s)SeasonsPremiershipsHome groundTraining ground
Northern Knights Northern Melbourne,
North Eastern Melbourne
1992–present4 (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996) Preston City Oval Preston City Oval,
La Trobe University
Eastern Ranges Eastern Melbourne1992–present2 (2002, 2013) Box Hill City Oval Kilsyth Recreation Reserve
Dandenong Stingrays South Eastern Melbourne,
Mornington Peninsula
1992–present1 (2018) Shepley Oval, Dandenong Shepley Oval
Western Jets Western Melbourne,
Wyndham Region
1992–present0 Burbank Oval W.L.J. Crofts Reserve, Altona
Brookside Oval, Caroline Springs
Sandringham Dragons Bayside Melbourne,
Inner South East Melbourne
1992–present4 (1999, 2011, 2016, 2022) Trevor Barker Beach Oval RSEA Park,
Geelong Falcons Geelong,
Western Region
1992–present3 (1992, 2000, 2017) Chirnside Park,
Kardinia Park (Stadium)
Highton Reserve
Murray Bushrangers Goulburn Valley,
North Eastern Victoria
1993–present2 (1998, 2008)WJ Findlay Oval, Wangaratta
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta
Lavington Sports Ground, Albury
Albury Sports Ground, Albury
Deakin Reserve, Shepparton
Norm Minns Oval
Bendigo Pioneers Bendigo,
Central Murray,
North Central,
Mallee regions
1993–present0 Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo Golden Square Football Oval
Gippsland Power Gippsland 1993–present1 (2005) Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell Morwell Recreation Reserve
Greater Western Victoria Rebels Ballarat,
Wimmera Region
1993–present1 (1997) Eureka Stadium, North Ballarat Eureka Stadium
Oakleigh Chargers South Eastern Melbourne,
Inner Eastern Melbourne,
Central Melbourne
1995–present5 (2006, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2019)Warrawee Park, Oakleigh Warrawee Park
Calder Cannons North Western Melbourne,
Sunbury District
1995–present6 (2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010)Highgate Recreation Reserve, Craigieburn Highgate Recreation Reserve
Tasmania Devils Tasmania 1996–2002;
0 Bellerive Oval,
Aurora Stadium
NT Thunder Northern Territory 2019-0 TIO Stadium
Gold Coast Suns
Gold Coast region,
Northern Queensland,
Northern Rivers region (NSW)
2009; 2019-0 Metricon Stadium
Brisbane Lions
Brisbane region, Sunshine Coast, Darling Downs, Wide Bay-Burnett, Outback Queensland2019-0 Brisbane Cricket Ground
Sydney Swans
Central Sydney, Southern Sydney, North Shore and Northern Beaches, Central Coast, Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, New England, Wollongong and the Illawarra region2019-0 Sydney Cricket Ground
Greater Western Sydney Giants
Greater Western Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Canberra and the ACT, Broken Hill and western New South Wales, Albury, Riverina, Sunraysia and southern New South Wales 2010, 2019-0 Spotless Stadium Tom Wills Oval


VFL Affiliations

Nine of the 12 Victorian-based NAB League clubs are affiliated with a heritage VFA/VFL club. This allows for a natural development pathway between under-18s football and state-level senior football; and top age players are permitted to play senior games under the VFL's 23rd man rule:

NAB League premiers

SeasonPremiersGF ScoreRunner-upBest-on-ground
1992Geelong Falcons18.16 (124) – 12.10 (82)Western Jets Daniel Fletcher
1993Northern Knights32.10 (202) – 18.11 (119)Western Jets Shannon Gibson
1994Northern Knights16.21 (117) – 15.17 (107)Geelong Falcons Anthony Rocca
1995Northern Knights12.20 (92) – 7.21 (63)Eastern Ranges Brent Harvey
1996Northern Knights15.15 (105) – 14.6 (90)NSW/ACT RamsMatthew Harrison
1997North Ballarat Rebels16.15 (111) – 10.16 (76)Dandenong Stingrays Adam Goodes
1998Murray Bushrangers17.18 (120) – 12.12 (84)Geelong Falcons Michael Stevens
1999Sandringham Dragons16.8 (104) – 8.6 (54)Gippsland Power Dylan Smith
2000Geelong Falcons18.16 (124) – 15.12 (102)Eastern Ranges Amon Buchanan
2001Calder Cannons16.14 (110) – 10.13 (73)Bendigo PioneersJordan Barham
2002Eastern Ranges10.5 (65) – 9.10 (64)Calder CannonsStephen Dinnell
2003Calder Cannons16.14 (110) – 2.6 (18)Murray Bushrangers Brock McLean
2004Calder Cannons19.20 (134) – 9.10 (64)Eastern Ranges Jesse D. Smith
2005Gippsland Power12.9 (81) – 10.6 (66)Dandenong Stingrays Dale Thomas
2006Oakleigh Chargers19.16 (130) – 16.7 (103)Calder CannonsDean Kelly
2007Calder Cannons14.20 (104) – 7.12 (54)Murray BushrangersAshley Arrowsmith
2008Murray Bushrangers21.16 (142) – 9.7 (61)Dandenong Stingrays Steele Sidebottom
2009Calder Cannons17.10 (112) – 14.14 (98)Dandenong Stingrays Jake Melksham
2010Calder Cannons17.14 (116) – 8.10 (58)Gippsland Power Mitch Wallis
2011Sandringham Dragons17.11 (113) – 16.9 (105)Oakleigh Chargers Jack Viney
2012Oakleigh Chargers12.10 (82) – 12.9 (81)Gippsland Power Jackson Macrae
2013 Eastern Ranges24.8 (152) – 5.10 (40)Dandenong Stingrays Ben Cavarra
2014 Oakleigh Chargers17.15 (117) – 11.4 (70)Calder Cannons Toby McLean
2015 Oakleigh Chargers10.13 (73) – 9.7 (61)Eastern RangesKade Answerth
2016 Sandringham Dragons12.13 (85) – 9.14 (68)Murray Bushrangers Andrew McGrath
2017 Geelong Falcons13.11 (89) – 13.9 (87)Sandringham Dragons Gryan Miers
2018 Dandenong Stingrays12.8 (80) - 11.8 (74)Oakleigh Chargers Matthew Rowell
2019 Oakleigh Chargers12.17 (89) - 5.6 (36)Eastern Ranges Matthew Rowell
2020 No premiership awarded due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2021 No premiership awarded due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2022 Sandringham Dragons14.10 (94) – 7.9 (51)Dandenong Stingrays Will Ashcroft

Total premierships by club

NSW/ACT Rams, as of 2015, do not play a full season, and therefore cannot compete for the premiership.

Total runner-up placements by club

NAB League Girls

A female youth competition, equivalent to the NAB League, was inaugurated in 2017.

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