NAB Cup set to follow Keenan Cup traditions


The 2011 season is yet to reach its crescendo and rumours already abound regarding the format of the 2012 pre-season competition.

The NAB Cup utilised a three-way play-off system in the 2011 pre-season, and this successful format is set to be taken to even greater heights.

The AFL has been keeping a close eye on the tradition and rivalry that has been building each year of the Keenan Cup. Since the retirement of Peter “Crackers” Keenan at the end of the 1982 season, Melbourne, North Melbourne and Essendon have played off for the Keenan Cup. It has been widely acclaimed in AFL circles as the most hotly contested 3-way rivalry in football. The AFL are determined to leverage off this innovative concept and reinvigorate the pre-season as a marquee competition.

Whilst the exact details are yet to be formalised, a top ranking AFL official has confirmed that it has been workshopped, and the concept forms one of the four pillars of the AFL’s strategic blueprint. Whilst not wanting to go on the record, the AFL official acknowledged, “We’ve seen what’s happened with the rivalry developed in the Keenan Cup. And being a team of great visionaries, AFL management want to leave our legacy on the game. We thought that it would be a terrific initiative for the fans. There’s no doubt, the fans come first”, he said from his coastline villa on the small Italian island of Elba.

When addressing the half-baked rivalries attempted by the AFL in the past, he said, “These are not some sort of fictitious rivalries that we’ve seen doctored up in the past; these rivalries are based on the rich and diverse history that a legendary player has with these three clubs. I think that when you see the players names that will be honoured in these intense rivalries, there will be a real connection with the fans. And that’s what’s most important of course. It’s just another way for the fans to completely engage with our great game and for the AFL to give something back to our most important constituents.”

Further investigation has shown that the AFL has been registering internet domain names to make the most of the commercial opportunities that the new rivalries will offer. The AFL official made it clear that they would be very proactive in this area, “Look, some smart-arse has already beaten us to the punch on, and whilst I believe that it’s a terrific website, we intend to explore the complete gamut of multimedia offerings to engage the fans with our brands. We will vigorously pursue the legal avenues available to us in reclaiming the Keenan Cup name and its website. It’s an exciting time for all of us connected with the AFL and its key stakeholders.”

Phone calls intercepted prior to the News of The World’s demise have shed further light on the likely structure of the 2012 pre-season competition.

  • The Keenan Cup – Melbourne, North Melbourne and Essendon (Peter Keenan, 213 games)
  • The Clarke Cup – Brisbane, Adelaide and StKilda (Matthew Clarke, 258 games)
  • The Watters Cup – West Coast, Fremantle and Sydney (Scott Watters, 109 games)
  • The Ablett Cup – Hawthorn, Geelong and Gold Coast (Gary Ablett Snr and Jnr, 453 games combined)
  • The Cloke Cup – Collingwood, Carlton and Port Adelaide (Cameron Cloke, 58 games)
  • The Thorpe Cup – Western Bulldogs, Richmond and Greater Western Sydney (David Thorpe, 178 games)

The AFL gave a simple “no comment” when asked about the format outlined above. The AFL official said, “Having said no comment, let me say this. There are a number of different options being considered. Honestly, I will be disappointed if there is no room for the Heuskes Cup between Sydney, Brisbane and Port. I came up with the idea of the crowd having to dress up in drag like Adam Heuskes did. I just reckon that the fans would really love this. It would also give me the opportunity to wear a little red outfit that I put away many years ago. It’s this sort of thing that would really open up new potential markets for us; not just the straight-gay market, but also the queeny-gay market, if you get what I mean. Not to mention the frustrated-middle-aged-business-man market. And we know how big that market is!”

It is understood that the Thorpe Cup will carry David Thorpe’s name until a player has played for all three clubs – Richmond, Western Bulldogs and Greater Western Sydney. “Yeah, it was a difficult one. But when we found out that David Thorpe once visited Penrith on holidays, we thought that he was the obvious choice. Not too many people would do that, you know. Well, not too many that have also played for the Tigers and the Dogs. Having established that criteria, the Jordan McMahon Cup was immediately ruled out.”

What is known is that there is a real carnival atmosphere planned for these games. Whilst some might see it as politically incorrect, it is understood that half time entertainment at the Watters Cup will feature a Dwarf Throwing Competition. Some details are still being finalised, but it is hoped that Setanta O’hAilpin will be on hand at the Cloke Cup. The crowd will be asked to lie on the ground whilst Setanta dons his boots. The AFL have been quite clear in their positioning on this one, “The head is sacrosanct, but the buttocks are fair game.”

More details as they come to light will be available at or simply follow @keenancup on Twitter.

About Arma

Much-maligned footy banterer


  1. Brilliant Arma.

    However I smell a rat. The concept is so smart that, with due respect, I doubt you could have thought it up on your own.

    You haven’t been hacking AFL executive phones. It sure sounds like one of their iniatives.

  2. Dave Nadel says

    Arma, you have missed one contender for the Cloke cup. Surely Richmond which probably could have had all three brothers under the Father-Son rule if they hadn’t been impatient and decided that they only wanted Travis, is also a contender.

    The impatience of Richmond, which was also probably the main reason that they drafted Tambling (who could play immediately) ahead of Franklin who needed time to develop), has agreat deal to do with their lack of success in in recent years.

  3. Thanks for the comments guys.

    Correct Phanto. All I can say is that “I have my sources”. BBQ and Sweet Chilli tend to be my favourites.

    And Dave, on the basis of poor drafting decisions, a case could be mounted for Richmond to appear in almost every Cup.

    That is all

  4. David Downer says

    This requires a patent, stat!
    NAB Cup potential aside, the Donnelly Medal for the existing Keenan Cup’s B&F is clearly one of the game’s most under-valued awards. When Boomer Harvey features at sportsman’s nights in the future, the introduction should be “please welcome ‘quadruple Donnelly medallist’ Brent Harvey”. He may even win a fifth this year.

    On the Sunday Footy Show last week James Brayshaw claimed that Ch9’s Lou Richards Medal was the “number 1 award in football”. Clearly the Brownlow and AFLPA MVP hold little weight in the Brayshaw household – but as North’s president, and with a tendency to throw out mindless robotic clichés at will, “Braysh” could pump up the Donnelly and the Keenan Cup itself to unfathomable levels of hype.
    So maybe get thinking on the merchandise already also. And a goal-kicking medal to boot. And sound out corporate bookmakers re “exciting new football wagering options”.
    P.S: I’m still wanting to get up to Sydney in Rd.22 for the Foschini-Daniels Chalice.

Leave a Comment