THE NAB League will move into a conference system with the country region's finals series to start next week after another season hit by COVID-19.
Victoria's premier under-19s competition, which produces more than half of the AFL draft pool every year, will be split into country and metro competitions to allow for as many games as possible to be played over the next six weeks.
It will see a three-week country finals series begin next weekend with the five participating teams – Bendigo Pioneers, Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power, Greater Western Victoria Rebels and Murray Bushrangers.
>> NAB LEAGUE COUNTRY FINALS PATHWAY BELOW
There were two games involving country sides last weekend and there will be another two games this coming round.
The Dandenong Stingrays, usually part of the country system, will be a part of the metro conference due to a significant portion of its list living in metropolitan Melbourne areas that are still bound by strict restrictions due to Victoria's latest outbreak in the pandemic.
The metro competition, involving Dandenong, Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers, Sandringham Dragons, Western Jets and Tasmania, will commence as soon as community football is again permitted in the state.
Premierships will be awarded for both conferences.
The League is also committed to staging its NAB AFL Under-19 Championships, and will select firsts and seconds sides for Vic Metro and Vic Country for the games in late September to allow more players to show their wares after an interrupted campaign.
NAB LEAGUE COUNTRY FINALS PATHWAY
Week 1 – August 28/29
First semi-final – 2nd v 5th
Second semi-final – 3rd v 4th
1st to have a bye.
Two winners and highest-ranked loser to progress to Week 2.
Week 2 – September 4/5
First preliminary final – 1st v Lowest Ranked
Second preliminary final – 2nd Ranked v 3rd Ranked
Week 3 – September 11/12
Grand Final – Winner PF1 v Winner PF2
*There will be consolation games in week two and three for clubs eliminated from the finals