The AFL has today released the first round of the 2021 NAB League Girls season with matches commencing Saturday February 6, which will see elite Under-19 football return to Victoria almost 12 months after a 2020 season affected by COVID-19.

The future stars of women’s football will be on display across Victoria kicking off with the Eastern Ranges playing Western Jets at Kilsyth Recreation Reserve from midday on Saturday. 10 of the 16 first-round picks in the 2020 NAB AFLW Draft were from the NAB League Girls competition to highlight the strength of the competition as an elite talent pathway.

The home and away season will feature 12 clubs from Victoria and the Tasmania Devils in a nine-round season before a conference system Finals series which will commence in the first weekend of May. The top four Victoria Country/Tasmanian regions and the top four Victoria Metro regions will play off in a top four finals format. The NAB League Girls Finals Series shall comprise of seven matches played over three consecutive weekends with the two conferences only crossing over at the NAB League Girls Grand Final.

The winners of the Victoria Country/Tasmanian section and Victoria Metro section will play off for the premiership set for May 15/16, 2021.

Quarter length will be 17-minute flat quarters with no time-on added.

2021 NAB AFLW Academy players Nyakoat Dojiok (GWV Rebels Vic Country), Ella Friend (GWV Rebels Vic Country), Tara Slender (Bendigo Pioneers Vic Country), Maykaylah Appleby (Northern Knights Vic Metro), Tahlia Gillard (Calder Cannons Vic Metro), Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons Vic Metro) and Charlie Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers Vic Metro) are all set to make their season debuts this weekend.

Charlie Rowbottom of Oakleigh Chargers and Georgie Prespakis of Calder Cannons during the 2021 NAB League Girls Season media launch at Ikon Park. Picture: AFL Photos

The full 2021 fixture will be available in the coming days.
 
The NAB League Best & Fairest Medal will be awarded to the competition’s best and fairest player as judged by the appointed Field Umpires who will record their selection of the three fairest and best players in the match in order of preference.

Calder Cannons young gun Georgie Prespakis took out the 2019 NAB League Girls best and fairest award, 12 months after her sister and 2020 AFLW Best & Fairest winner, Maddy, achieved the same feat. Georgie Prespakis will line up for Calder on Sunday against Sandringham.

NAB League Girls – Round 1

Saturday 6th  February, 2021

Match

Venue

Time

Eastern Ranges v Western Jets

Kilsyth Recreation Reserve

12.00pm

Match

Venue

Time

Murray Bushrangers v Bendigo Pioneers

Yarrawonga Football Ground

12.15pm

Match

Venue

Time

Gippsland Power v Tasmania

Highgate Recreation Reserve

12:30pm

 

Sunday 7th  February 2021

Match

Venue

Time

Geelong Falcons v GWV Rebels

Deakin University - Geelong

11:00am

Match

Venue

Time

Calder Cannons v Sandringham Dragons

Highgate Recreation Reserve

11:00am

Match

Venue

Time

Northern Knights v Oakleigh Chargers

Highgate Recreation Reserve

1pm

The AFL Talent Pathway Programs have been remodelled to further align and simplify the talent pathway calendar, to provide Boys’ and Girls’ Programs with the same opportunities for elite development while also increasing their connection to community football. 
 
For the first-time, Talent Pathway Coaches will be full-time positions and work across both the Girls and Boys programs to ensure the same opportunities for both genders. These coaches will be supported by at least four assistant coaches with a combination of male and female coaches who have experience working with girls and boys football programs.
 
As part of the new model, age groups for all AFL Talent Pathway Programs, including the NAB League Girls and Boys and the NAB AFL / AFLW National Championships, will be re-focussed from U16 and U18 Levels to U17 and U19 in 2021. The 2021 NAB AFLW National Championships will be played in the Easter School Holiday period in the first weeks of April.
 
On Sunday January 31, 2021 over 400 girls from across Victoria participated in the 2021 NAB League Girls Fitness Testing Day at La Trobe University, Bundoora where the future stars of the AFL Women’s showed their physical prowess in front of AFLW recruiters.
 
The AFL remains committed to aligning the National, State and Community programs and how it can best benefit the development, skill and pathway for girls and boys. The Talent Pathway Program will continue to focus on a holistic football program which is heavily invested in on and off field development and performance.

While COVID-19 continues to impact the community, the health and welfare of our players and the community remains the priority and all matches will operate in a safe manner anchored in the advice of respective governments, public health officials and medical experts. Strict protocols will be in place to protect players, officials, staff and the wider public at all matches. Spectators are allowed to attend matches but limited crowd capacity will be enforced at all venues.
 
All matches will be streamed live through the NAB League App with thanks to Telstra. The App can be downloaded through the App Store. 

NAB League Operational Model
 

COUNTRY

REGIONAL TALENT OPERATIONS LEAD

TALENT PATHWAYS COACH

Bendigo Pioneers

Brooke Brown

Danny O’Bree (interim)

Dandenong Stingrays

Toby Jedwab

Nick Cox

GWV Rebels

Phil Partington

David Loader

Geelong Falcons

Tom Lonergan

Paul Corrigan

Gippsland Power

Scott McDougal

Rhett McLennan

Murray Bushrangers

Michael Wilson

Mark Brown

 

METRO

REGIONAL TALENT OPERATIONS LEAD

TALENT PATHWAYS COACH

Calder Cannons

Matt Burton

Ross Smith

Eastern Ranges

Danny Ryan

Travis Cloke

Northern Knights

Natalie Grindall

Leigh Clarke

Oakleigh Chargers

Jy Bond

Jason Davenport

Sandringham Dragons

Mark Wheeler

Jackson Kornberg

Western Jets

Luke Williams

Robbie Chancellor

 
Cameron Joyce will continue to lead the Tasmania Devils in 2021.