The AFL has recently released the Foxtel Cup details for 2012. The Foxtel Cup was created in 2011 as a viable national second tier competition for Australian football.
As the 2012 competition shows, it is more than just as a GWS develpment vehicle – and as such proved to be reasonably successful, so much so that the AFL will continue with it into a second year.
If you are new to the concept, this is an invitation only competition where qualification requires your team to be highly ranked in the most senior competition in your state or territory, outside of the AFL.
Foxtel Cup matches are played during scheduled byes in your league calendar, and any travel is funded by the AFL and Foxtel. Some SANFL clubs have refused to particpate due to a percieved lack of cash on offer and the potential for burnout if players effectively forfeit the bye.
Matches are exclusively broadcast on Foxtel, although some clubs have been able to broadcast matches via their websites.
Prize money for this year’s competition is up by around 20%, making the first prize about fifty thousand dollars, and total prize money about three hundred thousand dollars.
Debuting in this years competition are the VFL premier, Port Melbourne, Mt Gravatt (QLD), Subiaco and West Perth (WA), and South Adelaide (SANFL). Burnie and Launceston come in for Tasmania, both debutantes in this competition. Like last year, the top three South Australian sides declined to participate.
Gone from the 2011 competition are Swan Districts (WA), Clarence (Tas), North Ballarat (Vic), Northern Bullants (Vic), North Adelaide (SA), and Labrador (QLD). Greater Western Sydney have been promoted to the AFL in line with their development plan, and been replaced by a second Tasmanian side
The clubs participating are:
Vic – Williamstown (defending champion), Port Melbourne, Werribee
NSW – Sydney Hills Eagles
QLD – Morningside, Mt Gravatt
Tas – Launceston, Burnie
ACT – Ainslie
WA – West Perth, Claremont (2010 runner up), Subiaco
SA – Port Adelaide, South Adelaide, West Adelaide
NT – NT Thunder
Many of the clubs participating in the Cup form some of the oldest clubs in the country
In order of foundation:
Williamstown (1864), Port Adelaide (1870), Port Melbourne (1874), Launceston (1875), South Adelaide (1876), West Perth (1885), West Adelaide (1891), Subiaco (1896), Claremont (1906), Ainslie (1927), Morningside (1947), Werribee (1965), Mt Gravatt (1970), Sydney Hills (1976), Burnie (1995), NT Thunder (2008)
Like last year, the matches are exclusive to Foxtel, however in a shift, most round 1 matches will be played and broadcast from 11am, as opposed to right before an AFL game regardless of when it was played as was the case in 2010. The round 1 match in WA will start at 2pm. In 2011 they were almost all exclusively broadcast from 3pm on.
The round 1 Foxtel Cup Fixture (starts March 31 with matches weekly)
Morningside v Launceston (Metricon Stadium)
Port Adelaide v Subiaco (Aami Stadium)
Werribee v Burnie (Etihad or Aurora TBA)
Ainslie v West Perth (Blacktown – not a curtainraiser)
Claremont v West Adelaide (Pattersons Stadium – not a curtainraiser)
Sydney Hills v Mt Gravatt (SCG)
Williamstown v South Adelaide (MCG)
NT Thunder v Port Melbourne (TIO Stadium)
Its considerably early, however if Port Melbourne can get over the trip to the Territory in round 1, I fully expect them to take out the flag. Reigning champions Williamstown were beaten pretty easily by Port Melbnourne who went through 2010 undefeated in the VFL.
After the Tasmanian showing last year, Im not sure if doubling the number of teams from that state was prudent. I expect Claremont to put on another good showing in the Cup. The continuing lack of upper echelon SANFL teams means the upper level teams from Victoria and WA should have a relatively easy 2012 competition with the Thunder being the dark horse for mine.