Competition Rules for Under 9 and Under 10

In under 9/10 games, we play 4×10 minute quarters, with no time on.

Ideally, teams should have 12 players, but games can be played with a minimum of nine players, and a maximum of 15. In most cases, teams are encouraged to balance on-field player numbers.

Teams are encouraged to minimise the number of reserve players, so all children get to play on game day. Coaches are able to make an unlimited number of interchanges.

The field is divided into three zones: forward, centre and back. Players are assigned a zone for a quarter, and then will switch zones for the next quarter.

Only players in the forward zone can score – although no scores or ladders are to be kept.

Reduced contact

In this age group, “rough stuff” is kept to a minimum. Restrained side (shoulder to shoulder) contact is allowed when players are contesting a loose ball. The intention is that a player is “running with”, rather than “running at” another player.

Front on contact, or contact from behind is strictly prohibited. So is smothering, barging, shepherding, or kicking off the ground (unless accidental). Other actions aimed to reduce contact mean there is no tackling by grabbing the arms or applying a wrap around tackle, knocking the ball out of an opponent’s hands, pushing the player in the side, stealing the ball from another player, or bumping (other than the restrained shoulder to shoulder contact mentioned above).

The ball is considered to be “possessed” by a player controlling it, catching it, grabbing it, or laying two hands on it, when it is on the ground.

A mark is awarded irrespective of the distance the ball has travelled to any player who catches the ball directly from the kick of another player. Where a player drops a mark, but has eyes on the ball, and hands out in front or above their head, and makes good contact, then a mark can be awarded for a good attempt.

Players can “hold and release” an opposition player in possession of the ball by grabbing the jumper only with one or two hands. The hold and release tackle is explained more fully in the bylaws, but generally an umpire will acknowledge the hold (by calling out ‘Release’) and then count down backwards from three. The player must properly dispose of the ball within this three-second time frame.

Spirit of the Game

The most important things at this age are for players to have fun, make friends, learn how to play Aussie Rules football, and feel like they’re part of a team. All participants are reminded of the Codes of Conduct for players, parents, coaches and officials.

Players, coaches, officials and umpires should shake hands before and after the game…. and don’t forget three cheers for the umpires and the group huddle for the team song!

This is just a summary of the rules. If you would like further information, check out the AFL Sydney Juniors 2016 Competition Rules and Bylaws. If you have any further questions, please contact Drummoyne Power.