The AFL’s pre-season competition, the NAB Challenge, is held each year in February/March. Formerly known as the NAB Cup, the event has changed its name and playing format over the past few years. It provides teams playing in the sport’s elite league a final hit-out before the season commences in the first weekend of April.
When the competition was the NAB Cup, it was played as a knock-out tournament where teams would face off until there was one team left standing. Under the current format, the tournament features 18 games played over 18 days. Each side plays two matches and there’s no Grand Final or overall winner. In recent times, the NAB Challenge has been used by the AFL to trial rule changes ahead of possible introduction into the premiership season.
Prize money awarded to the winning team up to 2013 was $180,000 by NAB, the competition’s major sponsor. Clubs in the past that were knocked out of the tournament early would continue to play friendly matches to continue their build-up towards the premiership season. NAB Challenge matches are contested under a modified format, which includes shorter quarters (18 minutes plus time-on instead of the normal 20) and the use of a nine point super-goal.
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