The NAB AFL Under-18 Championships continue to be the centrepiece event of the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program.
The NAB AFL Under-18 Championships continue to be the showcase event along the AFL talent pathway, contested between the elite under-18 talent from across country. After undergoing significant change in 2016 and 2017, the championships aim to provide a platform for the most talented players to perform against one another.
The championships begin with the Academy Series (Division 2) in April and May each year. This involves teams from the Northern Territory, Tasmania and the four AFL Club Academies (Brisbane Lions, Gold Coast Suns, GWS Giants and Sydney Swans) playing each other to determine the Academy Series winner. From these games an Allies squad is selected to play against the four Division 1 teams of Vic Metro, Vic Country, South Australia and Western Australia in a five round series throughout June and July.
The format of the championships provides the opportunity for players to pursue their AFL dream by providing a stage for all players to showcase their talent to the AFL recruiting network. The championships also gives players the opportunity to experience travel, different playing arenas, conditions and climates, similar to the challenges they may face once they step inside an AFL club environment.