|Sport||Australian rules football|
|No. of teams||12|
|Most titles||Calder Cannons (6)|
The TAC Cup is an under 18 Australian rules football representative competition held in Victoria, Australia. It is based on geographic regions throughout country Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne with each team representing 12 Victorian regions.
The competition is one of the primary sources of recruitment for AFL clubs from Victoria. The TAC Cup provides an opportunity for talented regional players to participate in a high standard competition without having to relocate too far from their place of origin. The competition has a very successful pathway with players missing AFL selection often being recruited by semi-professional state, country and regional leagues throughout Australia.
With the focus of the VFL/AFL moving rapidly towards national competition, the old metropolitan and country Victorian zoning recruitment method for VFL/AFL clubs was phased out and at the start of 1992 the league's Under 19 competition was disbanded.
A new competition, administered by the Victorian State Football League and sponsored by the Transport Accident Commission, was formed as an avenue to where many young Victorian under-18 players make their transition to becoming senior Australian Football League players. In 1992 the competition consisted of five metropolitan teams and one country team. The initial teams were the Northern Knights, Eastern Ranges, Southern Stingrays (renamed the Dandenong Stingrays in 1995), Western Jets, Central Dragons (renamed the Prahran Dragons in 1995, then the Sandringham Dragons in 2000) and Geelong Falcons.
In 1993 an additional four country teams were included – the Murray Bushrangers, Bendigo Pioneers, Gippsland Power, and Ballarat Rebels (later renamed the North Ballarat Rebels). In 1995 two additional metropolitan regions were established with the Oakleigh Chargers and Calder Cannons teams included in the competition.
In 1995, a Tasmanian-based team, the Tassie Mariners, commenced in the competition, becoming the league's first non-Victorian side. The following year, the NSW/ACT Rams were admitted. The Mariners and Rams both exited the competition as full-time members at the end of the 2002, returning the competition to twelve teams.
The Gold Coast Football Club recruited several under-18s players in the 2008/09 summer, and participated in the TAC Cup in 2009 (before playing in the VFL in 2010 and the AFL from 2011). Similarly, the Greater Western Sydney Giants fielded a TAC Cup team in 2010, two seasons prior to its introduction to the AFL in 2012.
Four interstate teams – the Tassie Mariners, NSW/ACT Rams, Queensland Scorpions and the Northern Territory Thunder – each play a handful of games each year against TAC Cup teams, particularly in the lead-up to the annual AFL Under 18 Championships; these games are counted as part of the TAC Cup premiership season, but the interstate clubs are not eligible for the premiership.
Between 1995 and 2008, the finals system was in a knock-out format. This reverted to a traditional finals system in 2009 with the introduction of the Gold Coast team. In 2010, this was extended to include 12 of the 13 clubs participating that season, with the extra matches forming an extended knockout format. In 2011 the finals system was reverted to the traditional 8 team AFL finals series. Prior to the 2014 season, the NSW/ACT Rams was reestablished as a TAC Cup team, with players from the Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney Giants young academy sides being picked for the NSW/ACT team.
Although primarily a competition for 18-year-olds, exceptions are made for bottom-aged players—16- or 17-year-olds—and since 2007, over-age players—19 year olds—to participate in the competition.
Since the beginning of the 2007 TAC Cup season, clubs have been granted permission to select up to five over-age players permitted on their lists.
Nonetheless, age eligibility requirements remain for the AFL Draft, where players must have turned 17 by 30 April of that draft year to be eligible for selection by an AFL Club.
The Morrish Medal is awarded to the best player in the competition each year. The same medal was previously awarded to the best player in the Victorian Football League Thirds/Under-19s competition, which the TAC Cup superseded.
TAC Cup Coaches Award
The TAC Cup Coaches Award is voted on by both coaches in a 5-4-3-2-1 format at the end of each game.
|2015||Jade Gresham||Northern Knights|
|2014||Oscar McDonald||North Ballarat Rebels|
|2013||Louis Herbert||North Ballarat Rebels|
|2012||Jake Lloyd||North Ballarat Rebels|
|2010||Adam Marcon||Northern Knights|
|2009||Anton Woods||Northern Knights|
|2008||Rory Sloane||Eastern Ranges|
|2007||Matthew Kreuzer||Northern Knights|
|2006||Andrew Horne||Calder Cannons|
|2005||Richard Douglas||Calder Cannons|
|2004||Adam Pattison||Northern Knights|
|2003||Colin Sylvia||Bendigo Pioneers|
|2002||Blake Grima||Eastern Ranges|
|2000||Paul Carson||Western Jets|
|1999||Leigh Brown||Gippsland Power|
|1998||Stephen Hazleman||Gippsland Power|
|1997||Matthew Bernes||Tassie Mariners|
|1996||Tim Finocchiaro||Eastern Ranges|
|1995||Jason Snell||Eastern Ranges|
|1994||Jason McFarlane||Gippsland Power|
|1993||Angelo Lekkas||Northern Knights|
|1992||Brad Smith||Northern Knights|
The Match of the Round is broadcast live on Rumble 103, an internet radio station based in Melbourne.
TAC Cup matches were broadcast live on Channel C31 Melbourne television in Melbourne, Geelong & regional Victoria in 2010.
Radio stations SYN FM & RRR FM will broadcast coverage of TAC Cup football matches every weekend during the season.
TAC Cup premiers
|1992||Geelong Falcons||18.16 (124) – 12.10 (82)||Western Jets||Daniel Fletcher|
|1993||Northern Knights||32.10 (202) – 18.11 (119)||Western Jets||Shannon Gibson|
|1994||Northern Knights||16.21 (117) – 15.17 (107)||Geelong Falcons||Anthony Rocca|
|1995||Northern Knights||12.20 (92) – 7.21 (63)||Eastern Ranges||Brent Harvey|
|1996||Northern Knights||15.15 (105) – 14.6 (90)||NSW/ACT Rams||Matthew Harrison|
|1997||North Ballarat Rebels||16.15 (111) – 10.16 (76)||Dandenong Stingrays||Adam Goodes|
|1998||Murray Bushrangers||17.18 (120) – 12.12 (84)||Geelong Falcons||Michael Stevens|
|1999||Sandringham Dragons||16.8 (104) – 8.6 (54)||Gippsland Power||Dylan Smith|
|2000||Geelong Falcons||18.16 (124) – 15.12 (102)||Eastern Ranges||Amon Buchanan|
|2001||Calder Cannons||16.14 (110) – 10.13 (73)||Bendigo Pioneers||Jordan Barham|
|2002||Eastern Ranges||10.5 (65) – 9.10 (64)||Calder Cannons||Stephen Dinnell|
|2003||Calder Cannons||16.14 (110) – 2.6 (18)||Murray Bushrangers||Brock McLean|
|2004||Calder Cannons||19.20 (134) – 9.10 (64)||Eastern Ranges||Jesse D. Smith|
|2005||Gippsland Power||12.9 (81) – 10.6 (66)||Dandenong Stingrays||Dale Thomas|
|2006||Oakleigh Chargers||19.16 (130) – 16.7 (103)||Calder Cannons||Dean Kelly|
|2007||Calder Cannons||14.20 (104) – 7.12 (54)||Murray Bushrangers||Ashley Arrowsmith|
|2008||Murray Bushrangers||21.16 (142) – 9.7 (61)||Dandenong Stingrays||Steele Sidebottom|
|2009||Calder Cannons||17.10 (112) – 14.14 (98)||Dandenong Stingrays||Jake Melksham|
|2010||Calder Cannons||17.14 (116) – 8.10 (58)||Gippsland Power||Mitch Wallis|
|2011||Sandringham Dragons||17.11 (113) - 16.9 (105)||Oakleigh Chargers||Jack Viney|
|2012||Oakleigh Chargers||12.10 (82) - 12.9 (81)||Gippsland Power||Jackson Macrae|
|2013||Eastern Ranges||24.8 (152) - 5.10 (40)||Dandenong Stingrays||Ben Cavarra|
|2014||Oakleigh Chargers||17.15 (117) - 11.4 (70)||Calder Cannons||Toby McLean|
|2015||Oakleigh Chargers||10.13 (73) - 9.7 (61)||Eastern Ranges||Kade Answerth|
Total premierships by club
- 6 - Calder Cannons
- 4 - Oakleigh Chargers, Northern Knights
- 2 - Eastern Ranges, Geelong Falcons, Murray Bushrangers, Sandringham Dragons
- 1 - Gippsland Power, North Ballarat Rebels
- 0 - Bendigo Pioneers, Dandenong Stingrays, Western Jets
NSW/ACT Rams, as of 2015, do not play a full season, and therefore cannot compete for the premiership.
Total runner ups by club
- 5 - Dandenong Stingrays
- 4 - Eastern Ranges
- 3 - Calder Cannons, Gippsland Power
- 2 - Murray Bushrangers, Western Jets
- 1 - Bendigo Pioneers, Geelong Falcons, Oakleigh Chargers, NSW/ACT Rams
- 0 - North Ballarat Rebels, Northern Knights, Sandringham Dragons
- "Our History". Sandringham Dragons Football Club. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "2014 TAC Cup fixture released". Sportingpulse. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- Rams to travel to Melbourne for first TAC Cup game in 12 years
- TAC Cup Coaches Award details
- "Draft bolter Clayton Oliver clinches Morrish Medal". AFL.com.au. 13 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- "TAC Cup award night winners". Sportingpulse. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- Herbert wins award in TAC Cup