Keen AFL players across the country are preparing to lace up their boots for another season of club football. The regional leagues are beginning at the end of August.
Regional leagues will be operating across five major centres. Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago leagues will give AFL enthusiasts around the country a chance to play.
All matches will be full-contact, 18 a side affairs, reflecting the official rules of AFL. The level of competition is high, as selection pathways are available for High Performance representative teams.
All regions select a team to play in the National Provincial Championships held on the 7th and 8th of December. This year the defending champions, Canterbury, will host the competition. From here players can push for a place in the New Zealand Hawks, and to represent their country at AFL.
At present, AFL leagues are only available for male teams. However, with the advent of the female High Performance programme based around the U-18 New Zealand Kahus, opportunities for women to play club and regional level AFL may soon be available.
Otago is the newest league. From humble beginnings in 2011 the league has now grown to 4 teams. Matches will be played on Wednesday nights at Logan Park, beginning in September, with trainings on Monday nights. Regular updates of information will be posted on the OAFL Facebook page.
The Waikato AFL is a young league that looks to develop skills the skills of players of all experience levels. Players interested should attend Grosvenor Park on Saturday the 28th of September for a pre-season muster. This will be invaluable for new players, with an emphasis on explaining rules and skills. Matches will begin on the 12th of October.
The Auckland AFL will begin on the 1st of September. Six clubs currently participate in the league, the largest in the country, with clubs spread across the region. Training times for all six Auckland clubs can be found here, and new players are always welcome.
Canterbury has a strong recent history in the NPC, winning their third consecutive title in 2012. The club season will begin on August 31 at Northwood Park, a full draw can be accessed on their website. Information for new players can also be found there.
The Wellington AFL will begin with an AFL 9s tournament for all interested parties at St Patrick’s College in Kilbirnie, on the 28th of September. Players are encouraged to come along and try the sport out in a fun environment. The season will commence a week later.
For players who want to try non-contact AFL before playing for a club, AFL 9s will be played at Play AFL Clubs across the country, beginning in October. AFL 9s is the game for everyone, and competitions will be available for children, teenagers, adults, female, male and mixed teams.