The AFL will retain a round-robin format for the first round of the 2013 NAB Cup.
The format sees the 18 teams split up into six groups of three. Each group of three then plays shortened, lightening-premiership style matches.
The first round of the NAB Cup will be played over two weekends in February. The first three groups will play on the weekend of February 15-17, with the other groups to play their first round matches the following weekend.
In the following two weeks, the competition reverts to a more regular format, with teams playing full matches. Teams cannot be knocked out.
The NAB Cup grand final will be played on the weekend of March 15-16 by the two teams at the top of the competition ladder.
The other 16 teams will play practice matches on that weekend.
The full fixture will be completed and formally announced by the end of this month.