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South Metro Junior Football League offers new way to play AFL Nines footy in 2024

Head of AFL Victoria Greg Madigan and SMJFL CEO Matthew Brown launch the U14 and U16 SMJFL AFL Nines Monday night competition at Moorleigh Reserve in Bentleigh East, a new offering in 2024. Photo: Darrian Traynor / AFL Photos

Teenage boys and girls in Victoria’s South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL) region have a new way to play footy in 2024, with the introduction of a Monday night AFL Nines competition for a six-round season.


In a first for the state and supported by AFL Victoria, the new competition will comprise boys and girls under 14 and under 16 age groups and will be played each Monday night under lights at Moorleigh Reserve in Bentleigh East, starting on April 29 and running through to June 3.


AFL Nines is a format of Australian rules football for everyone. From experienced players to newcomers to the game, Nines is played on a smaller field and is tackle-free, with nine players on the field for each team.


Head of AFL Victoria, Greg Madigan, said it is a ground-breaking move to have the SMJFL host a midweek AFL Nines competition across different youth age groups.


“I congratulate the SMJFL on introducing the new Nines competition in 2024 and leading the way in providing boys and girls with a different opportunity and pathway to play the game, stay fit and be part of a footy club and team,” Madigan said.


“Australian rules football in junior age groups has traditionally been played in one format and on weekends, with training during the week. AFL Nines offers a new way to play, be involved in the game and with less commitment.


“There is no tackling which makes it more appealing to some, but the skills of the game like kicking, marking and handballing can still be executed and developed, meaning Nines suits players of all standards and will bring more people into the game.”


SMJFL CEO, Matthew Brown, said: “The SMJFL is excited to be partnering with the AFL to diversify football offerings and increase footy participation in a fresh, fun, low impact format of the game across our region.


“As SMJFL football evolves we expect this will only strengthen our community clubs and support our kids and their love of the game.”


Individual registration fees are $75 for the full season and participants can register through participating SMJFL Clubs, with registrations opening on March 27. Participants can register their interest via the SMJFL website:  


The AFL recently announced that it has set its sights on having one million registered participants by 2033, with that ambition to be fuelled by $1 billion of investment into game development and community football in that time. Competitions such as AFL Nines will play an important role in bringing more people into the game, getting footy in every home and nearly doubling participation over the next decade.


Tips and info for AFL Nines:

  • With nine players on the field, and space on the bench, ideal team sizes range from 10-12 players

  • Individual registration fee for the full season just $75

  • Tackling is replaced by one-handed touch

  • The game is played in two halves lasting 20 minutes each

  • There will be scoring and ladders, with the final round of the season determining winning teams

  • Field umpires will be provided

  • Running shoes are encouraged. Football boots can be worn but not essential


2024 SMJFL AFL Nines – Season Dates (to be played at Moorleigh Reserve, Bentleigh East):

  • Monday 29 April

  • Monday 6 May

  • Monday 13 May

  • Monday 20 May

  • Monday 27 May

  • Monday 3 June

In a first for the state and supported by AFL Victoria, the new SMJFL AFL Nines Monday night competition will comprise boys and girls U14 and U16 age groups and will be played under lights at Moorleigh Reserve in Bentleigh East


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