North East Australian
Football League
SportAustralian rules football
Founded2010; 14 years ago (2010)
First season2011
Ceased2020
No. of teams9 (final season)
CountryAustralia
ConfederationAFL NSW/ACT
AFL NT
AFL Queensland
Last
champion(s)
Brisbane Lions
(2019)
Most titlesBrisbane Lions
(4)
Sponsor(s)Toyota
Level on pyramid2
Related
competitions
Australian Football League
Official websiteneafl.com.au

The North East Australian Football League (NEAFL /ˈnfəl/ NEE-fəl) was an Australian rules football league in New South Wales, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. The league was formed in November 2010, and its inaugural competition was in 2011.[1] It was a second division league, sitting below the national Australian Football League (AFL) and featured the reserves teams of the region's four AFL clubs playing alongside six non-AFL affiliated NEAFL senior teams. Nine NEAFL seasons were contested between 2011 and 2019, before the 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the league was amalgamated into the Victorian Football League from 2021.

History

The NEAFL was formed at the end of 2010 primarily as an amalgamation of the two major football leagues in Australia's north-east - the Queensland Australian Football League, based in South-East Queensland and including one team from the Northern Territory, and AFL Canberra, based around ACT, and including one team from Sydney (the reserves team of the AFL's Sydney Swans). The two leagues were converted to NEAFL conferences: the Northern Conference, serving Queensland and the Northern Territory, and the Eastern Conference, serving New South Wales and the ACT. Teams from the two conferences played matches against each other throughout the home-and-away season, before each conference staged a separate finals competition to determine both a northern premier and an eastern premier. The two premiers then played each other in the NEAFL Grand Final.

Two new teams also joined the competition for its inaugural season in 2011: the reserves team of Gold Coast Football Club (whose senior team joined the AFL in the same season); and the senior team of the Greater Western Sydney Giants, which was preparing to join the AFL in 2012. These two clubs would have joined the QAFL and AFL Canberra respectively, had the NEAFL not been formed.

In 2012, two more clubs joined the Eastern Conference from the AFL Sydney competition: Sydney Hills and Sydney University. With Greater Western Sydney's senior team joining the AFL, its NEAFL side became a reserves team in partnership with, and under the name of the University of Western Sydney.

On 11 May 2013, the NEAFL Northern Conference played an interstate game against South Australia who represent the South Australian National Football League (SANFL). The game, played at the City Mazda Stadium in Adelaide resulted in a 21.14 (140) to 9.4 (58) win over the NEAFL North, with SA's higher fitness level the main difference between the two sides.

On 8 June 2013, the NEAFL Eastern Conference played an interstate game against Tasmania who represent the TSL (Tasmanian State League). Tasmania won 15.11 (101) - 8.13 (61).

A major restructure of the league was announced for the 2014 season. Five clubs left the competition and the conference system was abolished. Broadbeach, Labrador, Morningside and Mt. Gravatt joined a re-constructed QAFL, while Tuggeranong went back to the AFL Canberra Division One competition.[2] The possibility of a North Queensland side entering the competition for 2014 was considered but ruled out.[3]

Due to the financial challenges of participating in the competition and a proposal from the AFL for the existing Canberra clubs to contribute to a single Canberra team, Belconnen, Queanbeyan and the Sydney Hills Eagles chose to leave the NEAFL at the end of the 2014 season.[4][5] The ongoing desire by the AFL for a single Canberra team led Ainslie to withdraw at the end of the 2015 season. Both Canberra clubs - Ainslie and Eastlake - had a NEAFL licence until the end of 2016, but Ainslie withdrew from the competition after the AFL rejected their proposal to be Canberra's sole team from 2017. The AFL wanted Canberra's team to be either a combined Ainslie-Eastlake side or a representative team funded largely by all the local clubs in the Canberra area.[6]

Two teams changed their names prior to the 2016 season. Eastlake's NEAFL side started to play as the Canberra Demons in an attempt to be seen as Canberra's representative team in the NEAFL competition. The club wishes to provide a clear AFL pathway for local talent and to get rid of the baggage between other clubs in the ACT. As part of this decision the team also adopted a blue and gold guernsey for home games, reflecting the territory's traditional colours. The team still wears Eastlake's red and black colours in away matches.[7] The Greater Western Sydney reserves team became known as the Western Sydney University Giants to reflect the re-branding of the University of Western Sydney.[8]

At the end of the 2019 season, AFL Northern Territory announced the disbanding of the NT Thunder, citing financial and logistical difficulties. The competition scope therefore decreased to capture Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.[9] The 2020 season was then cancelled altogether, owing to the infeasibility of interstate travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.[10]

In August 2020, the AFL announced that the NEAFL would be amalgamated into the Victorian Football League in 2021, bringing an end to the competition's nine-season history. The NEAFL's clubs will all have the opportunity to join the Victorian Football League, though given the finances associated with travel the independent non-AFL clubs are considered unlikely to join the league.[11]

Clubs

Nine clubs were scheduled to play in the cancelled 2020 NEAFL season.
An additional 10 had participated in the competition since it was founded, with NT Thunder the last to disband at the end of the 2019 season.

Club Colours Moniker State/
Territory
Home ground Seasons Premierships Current league
First Last Total Years
Ainslie
Tricolours ACT Alan Ray Oval 2011 2015 0 ACTAFL
Aspley
Hornets QLD Graham Road Oval 2011 2020 1 2014 QAFL
Belconnen
Magpies ACT Kippax Oval 2011 2014 0 ACTAFL
Brisbane (R)
Lions QLD Graham Road Oval 2011 2020 4 2012, 2013,
2017, 2019
VFL
Broadbeach
Cats QLD H & A Oval 2011 2013 0 QAFL
Canberra
(Eastlake)
Demons ACT Manuka Oval 2011 2020 0 ACTAFL
Gold Coast (R)
Suns QLD Metricon Stadium 2011 2020 0 VFL
Greater Western Sydney (S)
Giants NSW Spotless Stadium 2011 2011 0 AFL
Greater Western Sydney (R)*
Giants NSW Spotless Stadium 2011 2020 1 2016 VFL
Labrador
Tigers QLD Cooke-Murphy Oval 2011 2013 0 QAFL
Morningside
Panthers QLD Esplen Oval 2011 2013 0 QAFL
Mount Gravatt
Vultures QLD Dittmer Park 2011 2013 0 QAFL
Northern Territory
Thunder NT TIO Stadium 2011 2019 2 2011, 2015 Folded
Queanbeyan
Tigers NSW Dairy Farmers Park 2011 2014 0 ACTAFL
Redland
Bombers QLD Tidbold Park 2011 2020 0 QAFL
Southport
Sharks QLD Fankhauser Reserve 2011 2020 1 2018 VFL
Sydney (R)
Swans NSW Sydney Cricket Ground 2011 2020 0 VFL
Sydney Hills
(East Coast)
Eagles NSW Bruce Purser Reserve 2012 2014 0 NSWAFL
Sydney University
Students NSW Henson Park 2012 2020 0 NSWAFL
Tuggeranong
Hawks ACT Greenway Oval 2011 2013 0 ACTAFL
(R) denotes that the club was the reserves affiliate team of an AFL club
* Greater Western Sydney played as University of Western Sydney/Western Sydney University

League awards

Current league awards have been instituted since 2014.[12]

North East Australian Football League Premiers

Season[13] Premier Runner-up Score Margin Venue City/Town State/Territory
2011 NT Thunder Ainslie 16.18 (114) – 13.14 (92) 22 points Traeger Park Alice Springs Northern Territory
2012 Brisbane Lions Queanbeyan 11.9 (75) – 22.12 (144) 69 points Manuka Oval Canberra A.C.T.
2013 Brisbane Lions Sydney Swans 12.9 (81) – 10.13 (73) 8 points Graham Road Oval Brisbane Queensland
2014 Aspley Sydney Swans 15.12 (102) – 15.10 (100) 2 points Graham Road Oval Brisbane Queensland
2015 NT Thunder Aspley 11.15 (81) – 11.14 (80) 1 point Marrara Oval Darwin Northern Territory
2016 WSU Giants Sydney Swans 11.16 (82) – 11.12 (78) 4 points Blacktown International Sportspark Sydney New South Wales
2017 Brisbane Lions Sydney Swans 12.13 (85) – 10.22 (82) 3 points Sydney Cricket Ground Sydney New South Wales
2018 Southport Sydney Swans 14.6 (90) – 5.5 (35) 55 points Fankhauser Reserve Gold Coast Queensland
2019 Brisbane Lions Southport 20.15 (135) – 8.11 (59) 76 points Fankhauser Reserve Gold Coast Queensland

NEAFL MVP award

Season Player Club Votes
2014 Matthew Payne Aspley 102
2015 Tom Young Sydney University 86
2016 Matthew Payne Aspley 87
2017 Jordan Keras Southport 78
2018 Matthew Payne Aspley 95

NEAFL Rising Star

Season Player Club
2014 Paul Hunter Redland
2015 Matt Uebergang Redland
2016 Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds Redland
2017 Adam Sambono NT Thunder

NEAFL leading goal kicker

Season Player Club Goals
2014 Cleve Hughes Redland 79
2015 Darren Ewing NT Thunder 87
2016 Darren Ewing NT Thunder 63
2017 Darren Ewing NT Thunder 61
2018 Matt Hammelmann Redland 60


NEAFL coach of the year

Season Player Club
2014 Xavier Clarke NT Thunder
2015 Brett Hand GWS Giants
2016 Rhyce Shaw Sydney Swans
2017 Tom Morrison Sydney University

Former league awards

Grogan Medal (2011–2013)

Main article: Grogan Medal

Awarded to the best and fairest players in the Northern Conference.

Season Winner Club Votes
2011 Matthew Payne
Cameron Ilett
Southport
NT Thunder
23
2012 Ryan Davey
Fraser Pope
Tom Salter
Labrador
Southport
Redland
14
2013 Haydn Kiel[14] Southport 21

Mulrooney Medal (2011–2013)

Main article: Mulrooney Medal

For the best and fairest players in the Eastern Conference.

Season Winner Club Votes
2011 Daniel Currie
Jarred Moore
Sydney Swans
Sydney Swans
16
2012 Shane Harris Belconnen 16
2013 James Bennett[15] Belconnen 21

NEAFL (Northern) Rising Star award (2011–2013)

Awarded to an outstanding young player in the Northern Conference.

Season Winner Club
2011 Ross Tungatalum NT Thunder
2012 Andrew Boston[16] Broadbeach
2013 Josh Smith[14] Morningside

NEAFL (Eastern) Rising Star award (2011–2013)

Awarded to an outstanding young player in the Eastern Conference

Season Winner Club
2011 Hayden Armstrong Eastlake
2012 Liam Flaherty[17] Eastlake
2013 Brent Macleod[18] Tuggeranong

Ray Hughson Medal (2011–2013)

Highest goalkicker award for player in Northern Conference

Season Winner Club Goals
2011 Darren Ewing NT Thunder 115
2012 Tom Kavanagh Queanbeyan 92
2013 Darren Ewing[14] NT Thunder 94

Most successful clubs

Club Year established Leagues Premiership years Premierships (total)
Southport Football Club 1961 GCAFL 1961–1982

QAFL 1983–2010
NEAFL 2011–2020

Gold Coast Australian Football League: 1961, 1962, 1966, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980

Queensland Australian Football League: 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008
North East Australian Football League: 2018

22
Canberra Football Club 1926 CANFL 1926–1974

ACTFL 1975–1999
AFLC 2000–2010
NEAFL 2011–2020

Canberra Australian National Football League: 1928, 1930, 1933, 1934, 1937, 1942, 1945, 1948, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1972

Australian Capital Territory Football League: 1976, 1978
AFL Canberra: 2001

19
Aspley Football Club 1964 SQAFA 1964–1992

BAFL 1993–2008
QAFL 2009–2010
NEAFL: 2011–2020

South Queensland Australian Football Association: 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992

Brisbane Australian Football League: 2002
North East Australian Football League: 2014

9
Sydney University Football Club 1948 NSWANFL 1948–1957, 1962–1968

SFA 1971–1987, 1995–2006
SFL 1988–1994
SAFL 2007–2011
NEAFL 2012–2020

Sydney Football Association: 1981, 1986, 1987, 1997, 2003, 2005

Sydney Football League: 1992

7
Brisbane Lions (reserves) 1998 QAFL 1998–2010

NEAFL 2011–2020

Queensland Australian Football League: 2001

North East Australian Football League: 2012, 2013, 2017, 2019

5
Redland Football Club 1966 SQAFA 1966–1992

BAFL 1993–1999
QAFL 2000–2010
NEAFL 2011–2020

South Queensland Australian Football Association: 1975, 1987

Brisbane Australian Football League 1998, 1999

4
Sydney Swans (reserves) 1874 VFL 1877–1990

VSFL1991–1999
SAFL 2000
AFLC 2003–2010
NEAFL 2011–2020

AFL Canberra: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 4
Northern Territory Football Club 2008 QAFL 2009–2010

NEAFL 2011–2019

North East Australian Football League: 2011, 2015 2
Gold Coast Football Club (reserves) 2011 NEAFL 2011–2020 None 0
Greater Western Sydney Giants (reserves) 2011 NEAFL 2011–2020 North East Australian Football League: 2016 1

See also

References

  1. ^ [1] Archived 14 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "New look NEAFL announced". North East Australian Football League. 16 August 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  3. ^ "No North Queensland team for NEAFL". North East Australian Football League. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Three teams to leave the NEAFL". North East Australian Football League. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  5. ^ Gaskin, Lee (5 August 2014). "Canberra down to two teams in the NEAFL after Queanbeyan and Belconnen pull out". The Canberra Times.
  6. ^ Polkinghorne, David (17 September 2015). "Ainslie withdraws from NEAFL". The Canberra Times.
  7. ^ Polkinghorne, David (15 January 2016). "Eastlake back Canberra Demons as ACT's only NEAFL team". The Canberra Times.
  8. ^ "Western Sydney University GIANTS". GWS Giants. Archived from the original on 29 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Thunder no more: AFLNT confirms no NEAFL and VFLW teams". AFL.com.au. 12 September 2019.
  10. ^ "NEAFL Statement – 2020 Toyota NEAFL Season Update". NEAFL.com.au. 17 June 2020. Archived from the original on 24 August 2020.
  11. ^ Max Laughton (24 August 2020). "VFL to merge with NEAFL, under-18 comps revamped in massive changes to AFL's second tier". Fox Sports. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  12. ^ "North East Australian Football League: NEAFL awards night wrap". Neafl.com.au. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  13. ^ "NEAFL Overview". Australian Football.
  14. ^ a b c "North East Australian Football League: Southport's Kiel wins Grogan". Neafl.com.au. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  15. ^ "Bennett wins Mulrooney Medal". Afl Nsw/Act. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  16. ^ "North East Australian Football League: Boston to make AFL debut". Hosting4.sportingpulse.com. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  17. ^ "North East Australian Football League: Shane Harris Caps of an Impressive first NEAFL Season". Neafl.com.au. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  18. ^ "North East Australian Football League: Hawk Brent Macleod wins NAB Rising Star Award". Neafl.com.au. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2015.