Coates Talent League
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2023 Coates Talent League season
FormerlyTAC Cup (1992–2018)
NAB League (2019–2022)
SportAustralian rules football
First season1992
No. of teams13
Most recent
Sandringham Dragons (5)
Most titlesCalder Cannons (6)

The Talent League (also known as the Coates Talent League under naming rights[1] and previously as the NAB League and TAC Cup) is an under-19 Australian rules football representative competition held in Australia. It is based on geographic regions throughout country Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne with each team representing one of twelve Victorian regions, while a thirteenth team from Tasmania was reintroduced in 2019.

The competition is one of the primary sources of recruitment for the clubs of the Australian Football League (AFL), and it provides an opportunity for talented regional players to participate in a high standard competition without having to relocate too far from their place of origin. The competition has a very successful pathway with players missing AFL selection often being recruited by semi-professional state, country and regional leagues throughout Australia. An equivalent competition for female footballers, known as the Talent League Girls, is also contested on an annual basis.

The league was known as the TAC Cup until 2018, the NAB League in 2019 to 2022, and since 2023 it has been known as the Coates Talent League.[1]


With the focus of the VFL/AFL moving rapidly toward a national competition, the former metropolitan and country zoning recruitment system for the Victorian VFL/AFL clubs was abolished, and the league's under-19 competition was shut down at the end of 1991.

A new competition, administered by the Victorian State Football League and sponsored by the Transport Accident Commission, was formed as an avenue for young Victorian under-18 players to make the transition to becoming senior League players. It commenced play on 10 April 1992, the competition consisted of five metropolitan teams and one country team: the Northern Knights, Eastern Ranges, Southern Stingrays (renamed the Dandenong Stingrays in 1995), Western Jets, Central Dragons (renamed the Prahran Dragons in 1995, then the Sandringham Dragons in 2000)[2] and Geelong Falcons.

In 1993 an additional four country teams were included – the Murray Bushrangers, Bendigo Pioneers, Gippsland Power and Ballarat Rebels (renamed the North Ballarat Rebels in 1996, then the Greater Western Victoria Rebels in 2017). In 1995 two additional metropolitan regions were established, with the Oakleigh Chargers and Calder Cannons teams included in the competition.

In 1995, a Tasmanian-based team, the Tassie Mariners, commenced in the competition, becoming the league's first non-Victorian side. The following year, the NSW/ACT Rams were admitted. The Mariners and Rams both exited the competition as full-time members at the end of the 2002, returning the competition to twelve teams.

The Gold Coast Football Club recruited several under-18s players in the 2008/09 summer, and participated in the TAC Cup in 2009 (before playing in the VFL in 2010 and the AFL from 2011). Similarly, the Greater Western Sydney Giants fielded a TAC Cup team in 2010, two seasons prior to its introduction to the AFL in 2012.

Four interstate teams — the Tassie Mariners, NSW/ACT Rams, Queensland Scorpions and the Northern Territory Thunder — each play a handful of games each year against TAC Cup teams, particularly in the lead-up to the annual AFL Under 18 Championships; these games are counted as part of the TAC Cup premiership season, but the interstate clubs are not eligible for the premiership.[3]

Between 1995 and 2008, the finals system was in a knock-out format. This reverted to a traditional finals system in 2009 with the introduction of the Gold Coast team.[4] In 2010, this was extended to include 12 of the 13 clubs participating that season, with the extra matches forming an extended knockout format. In 2011 the finals system was reverted to the traditional eight-team AFL finals series. Prior to the 2014 season, the NSW/ACT Rams was reestablished as a TAC Cup team, with players from the Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney Giants young academy sides being picked for the NSW/ACT team.[5]

From 2019, the newly named NAB League introduced six new teams: the AFL Academy sides of Gold Coast, GWS Giants, Sydney Swans, Brisbane Lions; the Northern Territory; and the returning Tassie Mariners, who were later renamed the Tasmania Devils.[6] Additionally, teams were able to include more 19-year-olds – previously only three could be selected.[7] The 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2021 the competition fully transitioned from under-18s to under-19s – although the draft age to senior football remained at 18.[8] Since 2023 the league has been primarily by under-18 players, with a selection of under-19 players also listed.[9]

Competition timeline

Age eligibility

For many years the league was primarily a competition for 18-year-olds, though exceptions were made for bottom-aged players—16- or 17-year-olds—and since 2007, over-age players—19-year-olds—to participate in the competition. In 2021 the league shifted to an under-19 level, though the entry age for the AFL Draft remains 18.[10]

Since the beginning of the 2007 TAC Cup season, clubs have been granted permission to select up to five over-age players permitted on their lists.[citation needed]

Nonetheless, age eligibility requirements remain for the AFL Draft, where players must have turned seventeen years of age by 30 April of that draft year to be eligible for selection by an AFL club.


Morrish Medal

The Morrish Medal is awarded to the best player in the competition each year. The same medal was previously awarded to the best player in the Victorian Football League Thirds/Under-19s competition, which the TAC Cup superseded.

TAC Cup Coaches Award

The TAC Cup Coaches Award is voted on by both coaches in a 5–4–3–2–1 format at the end of each game.[11] At the end of the 2015 season, the award was discontinued.

Year Player/s Team
2015 Jade Gresham[12] Northern Knights
2014 Oscar McDonald[13] North Ballarat Rebels
2013 Louis Herbert[14] North Ballarat Rebels
2012 Jake Lloyd North Ballarat Rebels
2011 Shaun Marusic Gippsland Power
2010 Adam Marcon Northern Knights
2009 Anton Woods Northern Knights
2008 Rory Sloane Eastern Ranges
2007 Matthew Kreuzer Northern Knights
2006 Andrew Horne Calder Cannons
2005 Richard Douglas Calder Cannons
2004 Adam Pattison Northern Knights
2003 Colin Sylvia Bendigo Pioneers
2002 Blake Grima Eastern Ranges
2001 Brad Miller
Russell Grigg
Western Jets
Bendigo Pioneers
2000 Paul Carson Western Jets
1999 Leigh Brown Gippsland Power
1998 Stephen Hazleman Gippsland Power
1997 Matthew Bernes Tassie Mariners
1996 Tim Finocchiaro Eastern Ranges
1995 Jason Snell Eastern Ranges
1994 Jason McFarlane Gippsland Power
1993 Angelo Lekkas Northern Knights
1992 Brad Smith Northern Knights


All matches are live streamed on the AFL app.

Former coverage included:

Clubs history

Colours Team Region(s) Seasons Premierships Home ground Training ground
Bendigo Pioneers Bendigo,
Central Murray,
North Central,
Mallee regions
1993–present 0 Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo Golden Square Football Oval
Calder Cannons North Western Melbourne,
Sunbury District
1995–present 6 (2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010) Highgate Recreation Reserve, Craigieburn Highgate Recreation Reserve
Dandenong Stingrays South Eastern Melbourne,
Mornington Peninsula
1992–present 1 (2018) Shepley Oval, Dandenong Shepley Oval
Eastern Ranges Eastern Melbourne 1992–present 2 (2002, 2013) Box Hill City Oval Kilsyth Recreation Reserve
Geelong Falcons Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula and Barwon South West region 1992–present 3 (1992, 2000, 2017) Chirnside Park,
Kardinia Park (Stadium)
Highton Reserve
Gippsland Power Gippsland 1993–present 1 (2005) Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell Morwell Recreation Reserve
Greater Western Victoria Rebels Ballarat,
Wimmera Region
1993–present 1 (1997) Eureka Stadium, North Ballarat Eureka Stadium
Murray Bushrangers Goulburn Valley,
North Eastern Victoria
1993–present 2 (1998, 2008) WJ Findlay Oval, Wangaratta
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta
Lavington Sports Ground, Albury
Albury Sports Ground, Albury
Deakin Reserve, Shepparton
Norm Minns Oval
Northern Knights Northern Melbourne,
North Eastern Melbourne
1992–present 4 (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996) Preston City Oval Preston City Oval,
La Trobe University
Oakleigh Chargers South Eastern Melbourne,
Inner Eastern Melbourne,
Central Melbourne
1995–present 5 (2006, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2019) Warrawee Park, Oakleigh Warrawee Park
Sandringham Dragons Bayside Melbourne,
Inner South East Melbourne,
1992–present 5 (1999, 2011, 2016, 2022, 2023) Trevor Barker Beach Oval RSEA Park,
Tasmania Devils Tasmania 1996–2002;
0 Bellerive Oval,
York Park
Western Jets Western Melbourne,
Wyndham Region
1992–present 0 Burbank Oval W.L.J. Crofts Reserve, Altona North
Brookside Oval, Caroline Springs
Brisbane Lions Academy Brisbane region, Sunshine Coast, Darling Downs, Wide Bay-Burnett, Outback Queensland 2019– 0 Brisbane Cricket Ground
Gold Coast Suns Academy Gold Coast region,
Northern Queensland,
Northern Rivers region (NSW)
0 Metricon Stadium
Greater Western Sydney Giants Academy Greater Western Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Canberra and the ACT, Broken Hill and western New South Wales, Albury, Riverina, Sunraysia and southern New South Wales 2010;
0 Spotless Stadium Tom Wills Oval
Sydney Swans Academy Central Sydney, Southern Sydney, North Shore and Northern Beaches, Central Coast, Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, New England, Wollongong and the Illawarra region 2019– 0 Sydney Cricket Ground


VFL Affiliations

Nine of the 12 Victorian-based NAB League clubs are affiliated with a heritage VFA/VFL club. This allows for a natural development pathway between under-18s football and state-level senior football; and top age players are permitted to play senior games under the VFL's 23rd man rule:


Season Premiers GF Score Runner-up Venue Best-on-ground
1992 Geelong Falcons 18.16 (124) – 12.10 (82) Western Jets Melbourne Cricket Ground Daniel Fletcher
1993 Northern Knights 32.10 (202) – 18.11 (119) Western Jets Melbourne Cricket Ground Shannon Gibson
1994 Northern Knights 16.21 (117) – 15.17 (107) Geelong Falcons Melbourne Cricket Ground Anthony Rocca
1995 Northern Knights 12.20 (92) – 7.21 (63) Eastern Ranges Melbourne Cricket Ground Brent Harvey
1996 Northern Knights 15.15 (105) – 14.6 (90) NSW/ACT Rams Melbourne Cricket Ground Matthew Harrison
1997 North Ballarat Rebels 16.15 (111) – 10.16 (76) Dandenong Stingrays Melbourne Cricket Ground Adam Goodes
1998 Murray Bushrangers 17.18 (120) – 12.12 (84) Geelong Falcons Melbourne Cricket Ground Michael Stevens
1999 Sandringham Dragons 16.8 (104) – 8.6 (54) Gippsland Power Melbourne Cricket Ground Dylan Smith
2000 Geelong Falcons 18.16 (124) – 15.12 (102) Eastern Ranges Melbourne Cricket Ground Amon Buchanan
2001 Calder Cannons 16.14 (110) – 10.13 (73) Bendigo Pioneers Melbourne Cricket Ground Jordan Barham
2002 Eastern Ranges 10.5 (65) – 9.10 (64) Calder Cannons Melbourne Cricket Ground Stephen Dinnell
2003 Calder Cannons 16.14 (110) – 2.6 (18) Murray Bushrangers Melbourne Cricket Ground Brock McLean
2004 Calder Cannons 19.20 (134) – 9.10 (64) Eastern Ranges Melbourne Cricket Ground Jesse D. Smith
2005 Gippsland Power 12.9 (81) – 10.6 (66) Dandenong Stingrays Melbourne Cricket Ground Dale Thomas
2006 Oakleigh Chargers 19.16 (130) – 16.7 (103) Calder Cannons Melbourne Cricket Ground Dean Kelly
2007 Calder Cannons 14.20 (104) – 7.12 (54) Murray Bushrangers Melbourne Cricket Ground Ashley Arrowsmith
2008 Murray Bushrangers 21.16 (142) – 9.7 (61) Dandenong Stingrays Telstra Dome Steele Sidebottom
2009 Calder Cannons 17.10 (112) – 14.14 (98) Dandenong Stingrays Etihad Stadium Jake Melksham
2010 Calder Cannons 17.14 (116) – 8.10 (58) Gippsland Power Etihad Stadium Mitch Wallis
2011 Sandringham Dragons 17.11 (113) – 16.9 (105) Oakleigh Chargers Etihad Stadium Jack Viney
2012 Oakleigh Chargers 12.10 (82) – 12.9 (81) Gippsland Power Etihad Stadium Jackson Macrae
2013 Eastern Ranges 24.8 (152) – 5.10 (40) Dandenong Stingrays Etihad Stadium Ben Cavarra
2014 Oakleigh Chargers 17.15 (117) – 11.4 (70) Calder Cannons Etihad Stadium Toby McLean
2015 Oakleigh Chargers 10.13 (73) – 9.7 (61) Eastern Ranges Etihad Stadium Kade Answerth
2016 Sandringham Dragons 12.13 (85) – 9.14 (68) Murray Bushrangers Etihad Stadium Andrew McGrath
2017 Geelong Falcons 13.11 (89) – 13.9 (87) Sandringham Dragons Etihad Stadium Gryan Miers
2018 Dandenong Stingrays 12.8 (80) - 11.8 (74) Oakleigh Chargers Ikon Park Matthew Rowell
2019 Oakleigh Chargers 12.17 (89) - 5.6 (36) Eastern Ranges Ikon Park Matthew Rowell
2020 No premiership awarded due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2021 No premiership awarded due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2022 Sandringham Dragons 14.10 (94) – 7.9 (51) Dandenong Stingrays Ikon Park Will Ashcroft
2023 Sandringham Dragons 17.10 (112) - 10.9 (69) Eastern Ranges Ikon Park Will Brown

Total premierships by club

NSW/ACT Rams, as of 2015, do not play a full season, and therefore cannot compete for the premiership.

Total runner-up placements by club

Talent League Girls

Main article: Talent League Girls

A female youth competition, the Talent League Girls, equivalent to the Talent League, was inaugurated in 2017.


  1. ^ a b "Coates Talent League to take off in 2023". 6 February 2023. Retrieved 7 February 2023.
  2. ^ "Our History". Sandringham Dragons Football Club. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  3. ^ "2014 TAC Cup fixture released". Sportingpulse. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Journey back in time for TAC Cup - Australian Rules/Footy - Sport | Moreland Leader". Archived from the original on 19 September 2009.
  5. ^ Rams to travel to Melbourne for first TAC Cup game in 12 years
  6. ^ Twomey, Callum (17 August 2018). "TAC Cup set for major overhaul in 2019". Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  7. ^ Balmer, Matt (17 August 2018). "AFL Draft 2018: Premier TAC Cup competition set for major shake-up to include interstate teams in Victoria". Fox Sports Australia. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "". 6 February 2023. ((cite web)): External link in |title= (help)
  10. ^ "NAB League Media Release - The future of women's kicks off on Saturday". 5 February 2021. 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.
  11. ^ TAC Cup Coaches Award details
  12. ^ "Draft bolter Clayton Oliver clinches Morrish Medal". 13 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  13. ^ "TAC Cup award night winners". Sportingpulse. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  14. ^ Herbert wins award in TAC Cup