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Exclusive: Indigenous stars targeted for new-look AFLX

Shaun Burgoyne and Eddie Betts are tipped to lead an Indigenous All Stars team at next year’s AFLX tournament

ADELAIDE forward Eddie Betts and Hawthorn champion Shaun Burgoyne have been targeted to lead a new-look Indigenous All Stars team in a revamped AFLX tournament next year.

AFL.com.au understands the one-night event, tipped for Marvel Stadium on Friday, February 22, is set to include four teams picked in a schoolyard-style format by captains.

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Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe, Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield and Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt have been touted as leaders for the other three teams.

An ideal scenario would have Betts or Burgoyne as captain for the Indigenous All Stars with the other as vice-captain.

It is believed plans are only in their early stages, but the League’s No.1 priority is to have the competition’s biggest names play in the showcase event.

The prospective skippers recently received presentation pitches from AFL executives in an attempt to bring in headline players after an underwhelming start in 2018.

Most clubs trialled younger players in the first iteration of AFLX, held over three days in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne before the JLT Community Series.

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While all 18 clubs took part in the 2018 AFLX tournament, it is understood the individual players representing the new teams will be paid for their services, outside of their current contracts.

Next year’s JLT Community Series will begin on Thursday, February 28 when Carlton hosts Essendon at IKON Park.

The AFLW fixture has also been left vacant for February 22, with matches scheduled that weekend for Saturday and Sunday, paving the way for a night of AFLX on Friday.

The tournament including the Indigenous All Stars Team is set to coincide with the AFLPA Indigenous Camp, held every two years and scheduled for February 18-21 in Adelaide.

Up until 2015, an Indigenous All Stars team had played a pre-season practice match against an AFL club, with the next encounter mooted for 2019.

Off-season groin surgery is set to rule Sydney superstar Lance Franklin out from taking part.

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While the AFLX tournament has been thrashed out at recent Competition Committee meetings, it is not expected to be on the agenda for the next meeting on Wednesday.

Played on a rectangular pitch, AFLX comprises of seven players for each team with three on the interchange across two 10-minute halves.

The fast-paced format starts with a ruck ball-up but no centre stoppages after goals with the ball immediately kicked in after a score, with majors outside 40 metres awarded 10 points.

Source: AFL FOOTBALL NEWS