AFL introducing sweeping rule changes to junior footy

Picture: Hamish Blair Source: News Limited

AFL introducing sweeping rule changes to junior footy

 

Under an Australia-wide rule change children will be stopped from keeping score, playing finals and winning best and fairest awards right up under 10 level in Australian Rules Football.

Thousands of junior footballers in up to 150 leagues will be forced to play with no scoreboard, ladders or match results under the shake-up designed to promote participation rather than competition.

Footy-loving kids will this year also be barred from representative sides, play on smaller grounds, in smaller teams for less time under changes to be unveiled by the AFL in the next fortnight.

The scoring ban, previously restricted to under-8 and, in some cases, under-9 competition in Victoria, will this year be phased into many under-10 competitions.

Other leagues will phase in some changes this year and the remainder next year.

AFL national development manager Josh Vanderloo told the Herald Sun that the new rules had been drafted in consultation with leagues to give children “an enjoyment philosophy rather than a winning philosophy’’.

“Our research shows that kids play the game to have fun and not just to win,’’ he said.

“This game is for kids and these rules and regulations have been prescribed for kids so it will be better for them.’’

In another change, rules about contact have been relaxed so that full tackling, usually confined to under 13s, will now be acceptable among under 11s.

An AFL guide for the conduct of players aged five to 12, titled “This is Our Game’’, spells out the match-day regulations for under-9 and under-10 players.

“No premiership points, no finals, no ladders, no match result (no score) and no names of players published,’’ it says.

Representative teams will not be allowed at under-11 level, under-9 and under-10 teams will be reduced from 18 to as few as 12 players.

Ground sizes will be restricted to 100m x 80m divided into three equal zones for under-9 and under-10 ­matches.


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