The first phase of the reinvigorated Michael Long Cup will rollout this weekend as AFLNT goes in search of the best young football talent from right across the Territory.
The 2017/18 version of the Cup will see NTFL youth teams compete against teams from Alice Springs, East Arnhem, Tennant Creek and the Tiwi Islands/West Arnhem in a series of carnivals.
Round 4 of the NTFL Under 14 Gundersen Boys will be replaced with the Outback Stores Michael Long Cup round-robin this Friday and Saturday at Asbuild Oval in Palmerston.
Each of the NTFL teams; Darwin Buffaloes, Nightcliff, Palmerston, St Mary’s, Southern Districts, Wanderers and Waratah, will be in attendance. Joining them will be under-14 teams from Central Australia, and two teams representing the Next Generation Academies of Collingwood (Tennant Creek) and Geelong (West Arnhem), plus a combined team from Tiwi and West Arnhem.
Each team will play four games of 12-minute halves across Friday evening and Saturday morning before finals matches on Saturday afternoon.
A similar format including NTFL and regional-teams will be run in carnival-style for other Cup divisions:
- Under 15 Girls – scheduled for 1st and 2nd December (Round 9)
- Under 16 Boys – scheduled for 8th and 9th December (Round 10)
- Under 18 Women’s – scheduled for 15th and 16th December (Round 11)
- Under 18 Men’s – scheduled for 9th and 10th February (Round 17)
AFLNT High Performance Manager Wally Gallio said running the Michael Long Cup this way would expose more young talent than ever before.
“The vastness of the NT makes it hard for us to get to see all the skill on offer, so these carnivals will help us get a better gauge of talent from all over the Territory to select players to represent the NT at the 2018 Diversity Championships and to be part of our Academy teams.
“Not only will we as an organisation benefit greatly but I believe having intra-Territory representative games is a win for our juniors who would very rarely get the opportunity to compete against their fellow Territorians for a spot in an NT representative side,” he said.
The first games in the U14 Outback Stores Michael Long Cup commence from 4pm on Friday. Download the full fixture here. *Please note: Due to Waratah pulling out of the carnival on the weekend the U14s draw was updated on Thursday afternoon