Slight change to O&KFL youth

Benalla Ensign - - Local Classies -

Youth foot­ball in the Ovens and King Foot­ball League will be changed slightly from next year, mak­ing the com­pe­ti­tion un­der-19s rather than un­der-18s.

Dur­ing the past 18 months AFL North East Bor­der have been con­duct­ing a re­view of the OKFNL thirds com­pe­ti­tion, fo­cus­ing on its cur­rent and fu­ture sus­tain­abil­ity, in par­tic­u­lar the num­bers com­ing through Wan­garatta, Be­nalla and alpine ar­eas.

The North East Bor­der’s find­ings and sub­se­quent rec­om­men­da­tions were put for­ward to the OKFNL Board at a re­cent board meet­ing.

As such the League has de­cided to adopt the rec­om­men­da­tion to move the com­pe­ti­tion from un­der-18s to un­der-19s in 2018.

A num­ber of con­sid­er­a­tions were dis­cussed, and a ma­jor point that needed to be considered was, as the num­bers in the re­view doc­u­ment sug­gest, if the com­pe­ti­tion was to re­main at un­der-18s for next sea­son a num­ber of clubs will strug­gle to field a team, mean­ing the five-team com­pe­ti­tion may po­ten­tially drop away to a three or four team com­pe­ti­tion.

This means bot­tom-age play­ers will not be de­nied the abil­ity to play se­nior foot­ball; the age in­crease is de­signed for play­ers who are not ready or do not feel ready to play re­serves or se­niors; there will be some by-law amend­ments re­flect­ing con­di­tions on a thirds player play­ing a cer­tain amount of games ei­ther in the re­serves or se­niors and deem­ing them in­el­i­gi­ble for fi­nals once they have played a cer­tain amount of games up.

It also means con­sid­er­a­tions around the thirds com­pe­ti­tion are be­ing pri­ori­tised over re­serves or se­niors — for ex­am­ple a thirds player may only play up a level if the thirds team has 16 play­ers on their team sheet.

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