Narooma was swamped with junior footballers on Sunday, March 10, as the Sapphire Coast AFL's junior Lightning Cup rolled into town.
Five clubs (Narooma, Broulee-Moruya, Bermagui, Bega, and Tuggeranong) participated in the event, which saw teams in the under 12s, under 14s, and under 16s.
The competition was a round-robin format with no finals, which gave every club a good opportunity to run out the cobwebs from a long summer.
Sapphire Coast AFL Football Operations Coordinator, Mitch Wallis, said the carnival "ran really well" despite missing all clubs south of Bega.
"The whole day ran smoothly, with a lot of that credit going to the Narooma Lions," he said.
"Hosting days like this in Narooma is great, last year's grand final was an awesome day, but we do like to spread these things around.
"We originally planned to have both a northern and southern carnival, but our southern clubs weren't able to get the numbers up for the day.
Wallis said he was impressed with the improvement from all clubs.
"Narooma looked really strong in the 12s and 16s, and Bermagui looked pretty strong as well," he said. "Bega and Broulee-Moruya also look like they've improved over the summer, and hopefully every team has strong junior numbers this year.
"It's awesome to see the continued growth of junior footy in the area. Teams like Bermagui and Broulee-Moruya, their futures lie in those juniors.
"With those clubs getting stronger in numbers, it's really promising for the future of our competition."
Wallis said the Tuggeranong Bulldogs returned to the Lightning Cup for the second-straight year.
"It was a great experience for our local clubs to play against a team from a different league, so everyone was really excited to have them back," he said. "We made contact with the Bulldogs, and they were happy to come back."
The seniors Lightning Cup won't run this year, with the SCAFL opting to allow clubs to organise their own preseason trials.
"We thought we'd give the clubs an opportunity to organise practice matches against clubs from other competitions," Wallis said. "Narooma are playing Molonglo, and a couple of other clubs are looking to play teams from out of town over the next few weeks.
"It also gives the teams an opportunity to play a full-scale game rather than a round robin."
The season will kick off on Saturday, April 6 for both juniors and seniors. Registration is still open for all competitions.