Records have been broken with the return of the Spring season of AFL Nines in WA.
The Nines program has smashed post Covid numbers with a record 174 teams signed up, participating at 10 centres across Metro Perth and the Southwest.
From Kinross to Dunsborough there are 1700 participants across five different competition formats including junior boys, women, men, over 35’s and mixed.
There are two junior boys' competitions, at Sorrento and Cockburn, while Kinross and Beechboro have been developed as new centres.
In a significant initiative, a standalone women’s competition was formed in City Beach this season.
The WAFC has been working closely with the LGBTQIA+friendly Nines Super Team the Perth Hornets.
The Hornets field a Mixed and Men’s side in South Perth.
This format of the game has been used to break down barriers, encouraging more LGBTQIA+ participants to play football.
Michelle Sewell, Auskick & Alternate Formats Specialist at the West Australian Football Commission,
is excited about the progress of the program.
“Our front-line staff have been incredible in setting this all up and delivering competitions at such a high standard, including two new centres,” she said.
“The amount of positive feedback we’re receiving from participants is incredible, so much so that we were able to set up a junior competition out of our Sorrento and Cockburn centres for the first time ever under this new format.”
“It’s a social form of the game that you can play after work in the spring evenings at local venues with your mates and have fun and it takes less than an hour.”
“Teams can also play together all year round and Nines is the only form of the game where everyone can play together, no matter the gender identification.”
In addition to AFL Nines, the new NAB AFL Superkick program has been launched.
It is the social football equivalent for junior participants, stepping out of Auskick and beginning their modified footy journey.
Launched this Spring in WA, the AFL Superkick attracted about 150 registered participants across four centres, Kinross, Sorrento, Baldivis, and Forrestdale.
Sewell believes beginning Superkick for children in Year 2 and 3 is a great launching pad for the program.
“Families and kids are loving playing footy in Spring and it’s easy playing after school with the matches over in less than an hour.”
“Apart from the kids working on their skills, the highlight was the opportunity to play with and against other children and a safe and fun modified game day environment,” she said.
The program will be run again in Term 1 next year for children aged 8–12.