The Queanbeyan Tigers believe the re-vamped Foxtel Cup will increase exposure to the North East Australian Football League and help the ACT break this year’s draft drought.
Details of the revised second-tier competition were released on Monday with only the best teams from the country’s second-tier leagues taking part.
The number of teams has been cut from 16 to 10, with two of the top teams from the SANFL, VFL and WAFL taking part, along with the top Queensland, Tasmanian and ACT teams.
As reigning NEAFL eastern conference premiers, Queanbeyan will take on the NT Thunder in a qualifying round as a curtain raiser to the AFL clash between Greater Western Sydney and St Kilda at Manuka Oval on April 13.
If they win through to the main draw they’ll face the VFL preliminary finalists Werribee Tigers at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, May 28, which will be televised live on Fox Sports.
Queanbeyan general manager Ron Fowlie said it was a great opportunity for all his players to show their wares on the national stage.
‘‘[The changes] probably make it harder to advance because there’s less teams and the teams that are participating next year are the ones that won the premierships in all the major states, where in previous years it’s been the third, fourth and fifth teams in the comp,’’ Fowlie said.
‘‘It’s going to be a pretty hard comp to advance any further than the second round, but that’s all great experience for our club and great exposure ... any exposure to our young blokes can showcase what they’re worth.
‘‘We’re really surprised there haven’t been more players drafted out of Canberra in recent years. ‘‘I think we need to have these opportunities to showcase our players.’’
AFL general manager national and international development Andrew Dillon said the Cup winner would receive $100,000.
‘‘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,’’ he said in a statement.
FOXTEL CUP QUALIFIERS
Queanbeyan v NT Thunder at Manuka Oval, April 13 11.35am
Southport v Burnie at Metricon Stadium, April 20
Norwood v East Fremantle at AAMI Stadium, May 21
Werribee v Queanbeyan/NT Thunder at Etihad Stadium, May 28
Port Melbourne v West Adelaide at MCG, June 11
Claremont v Southport/Burnie at Patersons Stadium, June 18