Past Media Releases

2016 NAB Challenge Mackay match launched

02 February 2016

The 2016 NAB Challenge match in Mackay was officially launched today by Member for Mackay Julianne Gilbert as tickets went on-sale to members ahead of the general public on-sale tomorrow.

The Brisbane Lions will take on St Kilda at Harrup Park Country Club on Sunday March 6 at 3.40pm EST.

There will be 27 matches in 21 regional and metropolitan centres across the four weeks of competition, starting on Thursday February 18 at Aurora Stadium, Tasmania when reigning Premiers Hawthorn take on Carlton.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said the NAB Challenge allowed fans from right around Australia access to elite level football in their own backyards.

“Footy is back in 2016 and the NAB Challenge really signifies the start of the year for fans as they will have the opportunity to witness their favourite players in their own backyards when matches are played at venues like Unley Oval and Sounness Park for the first time,” he said.

“The community is the life blood of our game, so with our partner NAB, the AFL is pleased to take matches to regional and suburban grounds that don’t normally host AFL matches.”

“We encourage kids from across Australia to come out to a NAB Challenge match as they will have the same opportunity I did to see their favourite players, like Nic Nat taking a speccy or Gary Ablett breaking out of a pack all whilst playing in their own towns.

“The NAB Challenge also provides fans the opportunity to see players don new club colours for the first time, like 2015 NAB AFL Draft number one selection Jacob Weitering in the navy blue for Carlton and Patrick Dangerfield line up for the Geelong Cats.

“I’d like to thank NAB for their continued support of the pre-season, through NAB Challenge, and of the AFL talent pathway, where we will see players chosen in the NAB AFL Draft play in the elite game for the very first time over the next month,” Mr McLachlan said.

Unley Oval, Playford Alive Oval (South Australia), Beaconsfield, Ikon Park, Craigieburn (Victoria), Sounness Park (Western Australia) and Harrup Park Mackay (Queensland) will host their first NAB Challenge matches.

National Australia Bank’s CEO, Andrew Thorburn, said the NAB Challenge is a preview of what lies ahead for the 2016 premiership season. 
“Footy’s back for 2016 and you can sense the passion and optimism about the season ahead, as our teams prepare to pull on their club colours for the first time and we look forward to seeing the game’s new recruits in action.
“I am proud of NAB’s longstanding partnership with the AFL. It is exciting to help grow our country’s great game - and to bringing families, friends and entire communities around Australia together through the NAB Challenge competition. 
“Our involvement in footy, from the youngest Auskickers right through to the elite level, is about enriching our lives and creating opportunities for every Australian to realise their talents, opportunities and goals.”

NAB Challenge runs from Thursday February 18 through to Sunday March 13 and will see all 18 teams playing three games – two in the first three weeks and a final match each in the fourth week.

Queensland Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones welcomed the first fixture to be played in the Mackay region as part of the AFL’s NAB Challenge.
“The Palaszczuk Government is proud to support this event through Tourism and Events Queensland’s It’s Live! in Queensland calendar,” Ms Jones said.
“I encourage Lions and Saints fans from across the state and around the country to get behind their teams and come to the game in Mackay.
“It is an ideal opportunity for a tropical getaway and for visitors to extend their stay, spending some time in this spectacular part of Australia.
“Major events such as these play an important role in promoting our destination, driving visitation, supporting local jobs and fostering community pride.
“They are also vital to local tourism, which contributes $666 million to Mackay’s economy and supports 2,200 local jobs.”

Every match across the opening three weeks will be played at regional or suburban venues around the country, while the fourth and final week will see matches staged at metropolitan AFL venues to maximise team preparations ahead of the Premiership Season. 

Tourism and Economic Development portfolio councillor Greg Martin said funding from council’s highly successful Invest Mackay Events Attraction Program had helped secure the Harrup Park game.

“Attracting  this high-profile event is exactly what our economic stimulus package, announced in council’s budget was aimed at,” Cr Martin said.

“This council decided to take the initiative and aggressively lure high-profile events to raise the profile or our region and create flow-on benefits for our retailers and accommodation stakeholders,” he said.

“There will be an economic boost to our region of more than $1.5 million from this event alone, with a crowd of 5000 expected, including up to 1000 travelling from surrounding areas.

“It will create a buzz in our region and plenty of exposure for Mackay, with the game broadcast nationally live on Fox Footy.”

NAB Challenge will again see nine points awarded for a NAB Supergoal kicked from outside the 50m arc. For every NAB Supergoal kicked, NAB will donate $500 worth of Sherrin footballs to the goal kicker’s junior football club.

A number of specific rules have been retained for the NAB Challenge:
  • Nine points awarded for goals, NAB Supergoal, kicked from outside the 50m arc.
  • A player awarded a 50m penalty which takes them inside the 50m area can elect either to kick from outside 50 for nine points or kick from inside 50 for six points.
  • Longer breaks between quarters, if the weather requires.  
  • Rookie list players can be used in games.
  • Interchange: Rounds one and two – eight interchange and unlimited number per team (no substitutes). Round three –six interchange and cap of 90 per team (no substitutes).
  • Time-on/off: Rounds one and two – no time-on/off in first 15 minutes of each quarter unless a goal is scored or there is a major undue delay. The final five minutes of each quarter reverts to normal time-on/off scenarios. Round 3 – 20 minutes plus normal time-on/off scenarios.
A number of rule and procedural interpretations will be trialled during the NAB Challenge:
  • The line of the mark: An adjustment to the line of the mark, except when a player takes a mark or receives a free kick within the forward 50, will be trialled during the NAB Challenge.
  • Protected area: The protected area described in Law 16.1.2 will be modified by increasing the lateral width. The width will be increased from 5m to either 8m or 10m. To determine the final width and facilitate its introduction, the options will be discussed and tested with clubs during the pre-season and the NAB Challenge. It will be 10m for at least the first two weeks of the NAB Challenge.
  • Dangerous tackles: Dangerous tackling techniques will be further discouraged by a stricter interpretation of free kicks for lifting, slinging, driving or rotating tackles with excessive force.
  • Deliberate out of bounds: A stricter interpretation of deliberate out of bounds will be applied in 2016, based on a player not showing enough intent to keep the ball in play.
In January, the AFL announced it had offered supporters in areas affected by recent bushfires in South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria tickets to selected NAB Challenge matches. The AFL is continuing to work with local governments in supporting those in the community who have been affected by recent natural disasters. Fans will be able to donate directly to bushfire relief appeals when purchasing NAB Challenge tickets via Ticketek and Ticketmaster at the time of purchase.

For the first time in NAB Challenge history, all 27 matches will be exclusively broadcast LIVE on FOX FOOTY, and in addition, every match will also be available to fans via the AFL Live App thanks to Telstra.

Fans are at the forefront of NAB Challenge and have the opportunity to participate in kick-to-kick on the ground post-match (weather permitting) at regional venues over the first three weeks of competition.

A local child in regional and metropolitan centres will be chosen to present the match ball to the umpires in the lead up to the bounce.

In a continuation of the initiative introduced for the 2015 NAB Challenge, AFL and Club members with game access will be entitled to attend this year’s NAB Challenge matches free of charge, subject to availability.


Club and AFL Members – Tickets on sale today (Tuesday February 2)

General Public – Tickets on sale 9am, Wednesday February 3 (tomorrow), local time. 


AFL and Club members with game access have free entry to those NAB Challenge matches in which their club is competing (subject to availability, upgrade or registration fees may be applicable).

NAB Challenge ticket prices are as follows (Ticketing fees and levies are included in the prices below, however additional transaction fees and credit card fees may apply).













Family (2 adults, up to 4 juniors under 15)



Adult Member upgrade/registration



Concession Member upgrade/registration



Junior Member upgrade/registration



Junior Policy

  • Children aged 6-14 years as at 1 January 2016 are eligible to purchase a junior ticket.
  • Children aged 5 years and under as at 1 January 2016 are entitled to enter the ground at no charge; however they must not occupy a seat.
  • Persons aged 15 years and over as at 1 January 2016 are classified as an adult.


Tickets for 2016 NAB Challenge matches at the following venues can be purchased through the relevant ticketing agent:

Ticketmaster - or 136 100 - Rushton Park (Mandurah), Blacktown International Sportspark (Sydney), Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex (Burpengary), Simonds Stadium, Ikon Park, Sounness Park (Mount Barker, WA), HBF Arena (Joondalup), Aurora Stadium, Metricon Stadium, Domain Stadium, Etihad Stadium

Ticketek - or 132 849 – Norm Minns Oval (Wangaratta), Unley Oval (Adelaide), Playford Alive Oval (Adelaide), Holm Park Recreation Reserve (Beaconsfield), Drummoyne Oval (Sydney), Deakin Reserve (Shepparton), Robertson Oval (Wagga Wagga), Highgate Recreation Reserve (Craigieburn), Harrup Park Country Club (Mackay), Manuka Oval (Canberra).

The AFL advises the following NAB Challenge matches have limited capacity and expect high demand therefore encourage members to upgrade to a reserved seat (subject to availability) or register for a ticket to guarantee their entry:
  • Fremantle v Richmond - Rushton Park, Mandurah (WA)
  • St Kilda v North Melbourne - Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta (VIC)
  • Adelaide Crows v West Coast Eagles - Unley Oval, Adelaide (SA)
  • Richmond v Hawthorn - Holm Park Recreation Reserve, Beaconsfield (VIC)
  • Fremantle v Adelaide Crows - Sounness Park, Mt Barker (WA)
  • Sydney Swans v GWS GIANTS - Drummoyne Oval, Sydney (NSW)
  • North Melbourne v Collingwood - Robertson Oval, Wagga Wagga (NSW)
  • Western Bulldogs v Melbourne - Highgate Recreation Reserve, Craigieburn (VIC)
  • Brisbane Lions v St Kilda - Harrup Park Country Club, Mackay (QLD)

Please see for further venue and ticketing information. 


AFL Live Pass extended trial terms and conditions:

  • Requires an AFL Login or Telstra Digital Identity to initiate voucher redemption
  • The extended trial throughout the NAB Challenge is only available to new customers and will commence on the date you redeem the promotional code
  • When setting up your extended trial you are required to subscribe to a Weekly Pass that will commence after the extended trial period has concluded on the 14th March 2016
  • Customers can cancel their subscription anytime during the trial period
  • If you do not cancel your subscription within the extended trial period, recurring subscription charges will apply
  • Your AFL Live Pass entitles you to watch all NAB Challenge matches through the AFL Live app 

This offer can be redeemed up until midnight 29/02/2016 AEDT


Media contacts:

AFL Queensland - Lisa McKoy, 3033 5428

Tourism and Events Queensland - Lyla Lopez, 3535 5840