Pumped up for primary school football

Primary school-aged students across Victoria will take part in a nine-a-side Australian rules football competition in Term 3 this year. 409195 Picture: LJUBICA VRANKOVIC

AFL Victoria and School Sport Victoria (SSV) have partnered to launch an expanded nine-a-side Australian rules football competition for primary schools across the state.

Following a successful pilot last year, there will be 33 ‘Gala Day’ 9v9 competitions held across Victoria throughout July and August in 2024, during Term 3 of the school year.

Casey Fields will host a Gala Day for primary schools in Cardinia, Casey North and Casey South on Wednesday August 7, before a Greater Dandenong Gala Day is held at Greaves Reserve on Wednesday August 21.

Registration is free for SSV Victorian primary schools, with the program open to students in grades four to six to participate.

There will be a girls division and a boys/mixed division at each of the 9v9 Gala Days.

Schools can enter more than one team in each division depending on their participation numbers.

First and second place from each event will progress to region level events – dates and locations to be confirmed – ahead of the State Championships being held on Wednesday, 27 November 2024 at La Trobe University in Bundoora.

The ‘9v9’ format, involving reduced player numbers from the conventional 18-a-side football format, is designed to provide greater participation opportunities for more students and schools.

Games are played on a smaller field size, allowing for multiple matches to take place on a full-size oval.

The increased number of Gala Days in 2024 comes after an eight-event pilot was successfully run in 2023, with the expanded program this year coming in ahead of 9v9 being introduced as the SSV Australian Football Primary competition format in 2025.

Head of AFL Victoria, Greg Madigan, said AFL Victoria is committed to enhancing the student experience and having more students and children playing and enjoying Australian rules football.

“We’re delighted with the expansion of the SSV 9v9 Australian rules football program in 2024 and, equally, excited about the full implementation across the SSV program in 2025,” Madigan said.

To support schools taking part, AFL Victoria will provide 9v9 kits consisting of balls, goals and playing bibs for SSV Coordinators.


Cardinia/Casey North/Casey South – Wednesday August 7: Casey Fields Oval 2 and 3

Greater Dandenong – Wednesday, August 21: Greaves Reserve