During Term 4, five primary schools within Victoria's northern region were invited to a pilot program to introduce the new AFL9s to their grade 5 and 6 students.
AFL9s is a non-contact version of football that has been formed to create a game that is inclusive for all, yet still allows competitors to enjoy the fundamental skills of AFL.
The schools ran a six week program which included a "come and try" day hosted by AFL Victoria at their school. Students and teachers were taught the rules of the game before the school's AFL Ambassadors ran a competition either at lunch time or during PE classes.
Throughout the term, over 450 kids participated in the program, with many more watching on with great interest as their class mates battled it out to be crowned the school's best AFL9s team.
The final component of the competition occurred Friday the 16th November when AFL Victoria hosted a Gala day for all schools involved.
The top two teams from each participating school were invited to compete against each other for the title of AFL9s Gala Day Champions.
Over 100 kids took part in the round robin event held at Lower Plenty Oval, which saw some fantastic football played.
The way all teams shared the ball around and the boys' willingness to get as many girls kicking the nine point goals was a real highlight for all involved.
Ned Murphy from the Carlton Football Club Community Development team also attended, chatting to the kids about the great work they do within the Northern Region. He donated a Carlton FC football to the best players from each team in the Grand Final.
St Mary's Greensborough was the eventual winner, taking home the inaugural trophy. However, in keeping with the inclusive spirit of AFL9s, all 100 players received a participation medallion donated by AFL Victoria.
Some key rules of AFL9s include:
For anyone interested in finding out more about AFL9s, details can be found at www.afl9s.com.au.