AFL 9s – Rules


  • Max field size recommended 100x50m –Rugby or soccer pitch is perfect
  • The field is split in 3 zones and are advised to be set at 30m/40m/30m


  • Nine (9) players to take the field at any one time with unlimited interchange players.
  • Interchange of players may take place at any time, and be unlimited in number.
  • Teams consist of three forwards,three centres and three backs with forwards distinguished by either bibs, wristbands or arm bands.
  • Players must be in their zones at the start of the match and a after a goal has been scored.  Once the game is in progress, Players can move freely across all 3 zones
  • In all cases, only forwards can score


  • The game will consist of 2 x 20minute halves or 4 x 10minute quarters with no time outs


  • There are four vertical posts at either end of the field utilised for scoring
  • 6 points is awarded for a ball kicked between the goal posts/taller posts without being touched
  • 1 point is awarded if the ball hits the goal post or is touched/knocked/tapped/run between the goal posts
  • 1 point is awarded if the ball is kicked/touched/knocked/tapped/run between the goal posts and the shorter outside point post.
  • Only designated forward players can shoot for goal within his/her scoring zone.
  • The field umpire will be the sole judge of whether the kick for goal was successful.

Disposal of the Ball

  • The ball must be disposed of by a handball or kick (as per the Laws of Australian Football and displayed in your orientation booklet).
  • Players are not permitted to throw or hand the ball to another player or a free kick will be awarded to the opposing player.

Mark (Catch)

  • A Mark or catch is awarded by the umpire if, in the opinion of the umpire, a player catches or takes control of the football after it has been kicked by another player irrespective of the distance travelled
  • This entitles the catcher to a possession unimpeded by the opposition or a free kick or hand pass.
  • The player taking the mark will have a reasonable opportunity to dispose of the ball or play on. If he/she delays, the umpire will place a five-second count for play to resume.
  • It is not a mark if the ball touches the ground or has been touched by another player during the period when the ball was kicked until it was caught or controlled by the player.
  • When a player is awarded a Mark or Free Kick an opposing player may stand at the position on the playing surface where the mark or free kick was awarded known as “the mark”.
  • No opposition player (except for the player on the mark) maybe closer than 5 metres away in any direction.
  • There is to be absolutely no contact in a marking contest. The player in the front position has every opportunity to mark the ball

Bouncing the ball

  • Where a player is moving whilst in possession of the ball he/she must bounce the ball or touch it on the ground after fifteen metres, irrespective of whether such a player is running in a straight line or otherwise.
  • A player in possession may bounce the ball only once. He/she must dispose of it by hand or foot and may not touch it again until it has been touched (tackled) by another player.

Gaining possession of the ball

  • Possession of the ball is achieved by
  • Picking the ball up off the ground or
  • Catching the ball from a kick on the full or
  • Through a turnover or free disposal awarded for an penalty applied to the opposition for incorrect disposal or
  • When a point is scored or the ball goes out of play or
  • When a player in possession of the ball is touched (or tackled) by an opposing player, and has had no prior opportunity to dispose of the ball they must dispose of the ball by hand or foot within two seconds
  • The umpire will count out aloud so that the player in possession is aware of the time allocated to dispose of the ball.
  • If a player in possession has had prior opportunity to dispose of the ball and is touched, a turnover will be awarded
  • Players may attempt to intercept the ball in flight, however must not make contact with an opposing player.

Maintaining Possession

  • A player may stay in possession of the ball for a maximum distance of 15 metres involving one bounce unless
  • the player is tackled an adjudged holding the ball (tackle)
  • the player is touched (tackled)
  • directed to dispose of the football by the umpire

Play On

  • Play on” is a call utilised by the umpire to inform participants that the ball is live and the opportunity exists to dispossess the ball carrier.
  • The umpire shall call “Play On” in the following circumstances:
  • When a player after taking a mark runs around or over the spot “the mark” where he/she caught the ball.
  • When a player after a turnover has occurred runs around or over the spot “the mark “where the ball made contact with the ground due to the turn over.
  • The ball after being kicked has been touched in transit.


  • There is to be no contact or spoiling, players cannot:
  • Hold an opponent with their hands
  • Knock the ball out of an opponent’s hands
  • Push the player in the side
  • Steal the ball from another player
  • Deliberately bump another player
  • Smother an opponent’s kick by trying to block the kicking motion at the point of impact.
  • Barge, fend off or shepherd opponents
  • Touch the ball while another player has possession
  • Note –It should be accepted that it is very difficult to limit incidental contact whereby two or more players attempt to pick up the ball off the ground at once. In this case an umpire will affect a ball up.

Start of Play

  • The game shall be started by a ball up between two centreline players in the centre of the ground; players must stand shoulder to shoulder when the umpire commences by throwing the ball up.
  • The two competing players in the ball up cannot grab the ball or take possession of it until it has been touched by one of the centre players not involved in the ball up.
  • The centre players not involved in the ball up may play the ball if the ball hits the ground, however in touch versions, contact is not permitted and right of way will be adjudicated by the umpire.

Restart of play

  • After every major score (6), play is restarted in the centre of the field via a ball up.
  • After a minor score (1 point) the ball is required to be kicked back into play from between the goals by a defender.

Out of Bounds

  • When the ball goes out of bounds (ball completely over the line) by hand or foot, the nearest opponent shall kick the ball back into play.
  • If there is any doubt as to which team last touched the ball before it went out of bounds, the umpire shall call a ball-up five metres in from the boundary line.

Field Bounces/Ball Ups

  • The ball shall be thrown up when the umpire is unsure which team touched the ball before it went out of bounds.

Ball Transition

  • When the ball is in transition from the back zone to the team’s scoring zone, it must be possessed by a player in the mid zone. Failure for this to occur will see a free kick awarded to the opposition team at the point in which the ball entered the scoring zone.

Playing the Advantage

  • The field umpire instead of awarding a free kick may allow play to continue by calling “Advantage Play On” in the case that the individual player in possession of the ball initiates the advantage.

Kicking off the ground

  • A player is not permitted to deliberately kick the ball off the ground.

Diving on the Ball

  • Players are not permitted to dive on the ball; a free kick will be awarded against the player diving on the ball.

Away from the ball

  • An opposing player is not permitted to touch a player (touch) unless the player is in possession of the ball.

Fifteen Metre Penalty

  • A fifteen metre penalty may be awarded when a player:
  • Over steps the Mark
  • Engages in time wasting
  • Uses abusive, insulting, threatening or obscene language or behaviour towards an umpire
  • Enters the protected 5 metre area around a player which has been awarded a mark or free kick.
  • Has not returned the football directly and on the full to the player awarded the Free Kick or Mark
  • Engages in any other conduct for which a Free Kick would originally be awarded