Age group changes held back to 2023

The age group changes that were included in the AFL North Coast strategic plan to occur next year will be delayed by 12 months as a result of the combined effects of two external factors.

Under the strategic plan, 2022 would have seen the introduction of a non-competitive Under 10 age group, whilst all the current age groups would have moved up by one year (i.e. Under 12, Under 14, Under 16, and Under 18), however this will now occur in 2023.

Paul Taylor, Community Football and Competition Manager, said that factors beyond the control of anyone involved in local footy were the drivers of this decision. “We saw again this year a growth in the numbers of players in the younger age groups despite a COVID impacted season in 2020, which was fantastic. However, we didn’t get the anticipated flow through to the older age group, partly because of COVID, but particularly because of the extremely wet weather that lead in to the season and prevented most clubs from being able to recruit and train.

“In conjunction with our clubs, we’ll have a major focus on recruitment and transition ahead of next season which should have a positive impact on the older age groups. We’ll monitor our growth closely and will confirm the plan to change age groups in 2023 as soon as we’re confident that the registration numbers support the change.”

Whilst age groups will remain at Under 11, Under 13, Under 15, Under 17, and Youth Girls (Under 17) in 2022, there will be one new addition with the introduction of a second dedicated age group for Youth Girls. As announced last week, a Youth Girls Under 14 competition will start next season to reflect the ongoing growth in popularity of footy amongst younger girls, with at least four clubs already planning to field a team in this competition.

Anyone born between 2008 and 2010 and keen to learn more about the plans for a Youth Girls Under 14 competition should complete the form at this link to receive more information.