For the second year running, the Murrumbateman Football Club (MFC) will host its annual AFL 9’s competition at the Murrumbateman Rec Grounds today.
Beginning from 8.30am, 10 teams from Canberra and regional NSW will take to the field in two divisions, and the competition will run until roughly 5.30pm.
The teams include many of the same who competed last year, such as Ainslie, and Cootamundra, along with some new recruits like Woden, Gungahlin Jets, and the newly-formed Murrumbateman Eagles.
The day will include a significant change of format, in that there will be two separate divisions played. The first, which will begin at the start of the day, is for the local teams who play at a more casual level.
Meanwhile the second division, which will begin from 12.00pm, and will feature the local AFL clubs playing against one another.
This, explained MFC president Andy Ingold, was to level the playing field following a relatively one-sided competition last year.
“Last year, we found the AFL teams did it pretty easy against the locals last year,” Ingold said.
“So we thought if we split them into two comps, the locals can have their fun, and the AFL guys can get a bit more serious about it.”
Despite the one-sided nature of the competition in 2017, Ingold said that the feedback was overwhelmingly positive for last year’s event.
“[The feedback was] very good, positive,” he said.
“If it goes anything like last year, it’ll be a great day again.”
The rules vary from those of regular Aussie Rules, the most obvious difference being the nine player limit per team.
The field is divided into three sections, and there are three players assigned to each division as either a forward, midfielder, or a defender.
The players must stay in their sections until play begins, and only designated forwards can kick goals.
Men who kick a goal will earn six points, and women earn nine.
The competition on Saturday will be followed by the first round of the Lake George Cup on Sunday morning, which is being run by the AFL ACT/NSW, and will give the younger footballers in Murrumbateman and the Southern Inlands chance to exhibit their skills.
Ingold said that the signup numbers for the Lake George Cup had been strong, and pointed to the growing popularity of the sport locally.
“We’ve retained a few of the kids that played in the last Lake George Cup, and we’ve also picked up some new ones as well,” Ingold said.
“The numbers are looking fine … it’s very positive.”
The Lake George Competition will feature junior teams from Yass, Goulburn, Bungendore, and Murrumbateman.