AFL North Coast to broaden its horizons in 2016
GRAFTON will host the first round of a new inter-conference Australian rules football competition on April 9.
North Coast AFL and the Northern Rivers AFL have come up with a draw for the new competition that will pit teams from the two competitions against each other in a series of double headers scattered through the season.
North Coast AFL football operations coordinator Paul Taylor said the new competiton came about because both competitions only had four teams.
"The players find it a bit repetitious playing so often through the season," he said.
"So it makes it more exciting for them to come up against new teams throughout the season.
"As a by-product for our sport it allows us to leverage off the cross conference games."
Taylor said the double headers will be played in April, May, June and July with each North Coast team hosting one.
AFL North Coast clubs Port Macquarie, Grafton, Sawtell-Toormina and Coffs Harbour will take on Northern Rivers teams Ballina, Byron Bay, Lismore and Tweed.
"Grafton is the first," Taylor said. "The Tigers will host Lismore in one game with Port Macquarie and Tweed Coast Tigers playing the other game of the double header at Ellem Oval."
Taylor said competition points from the cross-conference games will count in their own competitions, so teams will be not be able to relax for these games.
He said the two organisations are working on playing a "champions match" with the two competition winners playing off after both grand finals have been played.
"There's a bit of an issue with the Northern River comp finishing a week earlier," Taylor said.
"But I can't see that being a real problem. If anything it would suit them to get their grand final celebrations out of the way."