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Youth Division Selections

Youth Football – Divisions and selections

With our club growing each year and many new players and parents joining the sport, some confusion among players and parents has come to light, in how Coaches select teams in divisional football and player movement between teams / divisions during a season.

In Youth football across both boys and girls age groups, Southport Sharks have Division 1 and Division 2 across most youth age groups. Our U14’s has also had a Division 3 team over the past couple of seasons.

When players start their journey in Footy4Fun (u8 to U11) club’s and coaches will attempt to accommodate even or equal teams to help the playing experience across all clubs and age groups. Some teams will often be made up of children who are close friends which supports a fun environment. When players in the boys and girls space reach U12 and U13 respectively, they enter full competition which includes scoring, ladders, finals football and premiership points allocation.

Division 1 incorporates the most talented players with a full team of 22 players, the process of selection includes the players ability to play in multiple positions or where the team benefits most in the strategy of the game. Being available to attend team training consistently throughout the season is also important to support the teams learning and growth. Players selected in Division 1 are made up of a “Core” player list (14 players) who are unable to play in any other team within the same age group. Ie, a division 1 player is not permitted to play in Division 2 or 3. Coaches must attempt to get the selection process right for a core playing list, by identifying the (14) best players in the age group. With some players being involved in playing other sports or late entrants to the club from other states etc, it can prove to make the process difficult for Coaches who need to select their core group.

To support the process and give some flexibility, SEQ Juniors allow Coaches to select (10) core players during pre-season and the final (4) players in the core must be nominated by round (6) of the season competition giving a total of 14 players who are locked into Division 1 for the remainder of the year. The remaining 8 players who make up the team in Division 1, have the flexibility to play in both Division 1 and Division 2.

Where there are 3 Divisions in the same age group, The Division 2 team must also select a core playing list of 14 players in the team of 22. Division 2 Core listed players are not permitted to play in Division 3. However, a Division 2 core listed player can play in Division 1 if selected. Players in Division 3 can be selected in Division 2 or Division 1 if selected based on their improvements during the season.

Players who lose form, show poor attitude, or lack commitment to name a few, can be moved to a lower team at the Coaches discretion. Example: A Division 1 player (non-core listed) can be moved to Division 2 at any time. It should also be noted that a Division 1 (core listed player) can be moved to the Emergency list for Division 1 only. ie, emergency players will not play a game unless another player on the team is injured or unavailable to play on that weekend. If a player cannot play, the emergency player is called into the team on game day. Clearly Coaches will try to avoid seeing players miss out on playing a game in the first instance. In finals, a Division 1 Coach will select the best team available from the qualified playing squad which will include several players from Div2.

A Division 2 player who shows great form and improvement at training and on game days, can be moved into Division 1 at any stage during the season. Division 1 players who are not (core listed players) can be moved to Division 2 at ant stage of the season. As a rule, Div 1 players will not be permitted to play in any Div 3 games.

These rules are based on Senior Football competition, where player movements are made each week dependant upon player form, attitude, and commitments etc. While all Coaches do there best to get selections right, players should understand that there may be several fringe players that improve during the season. Those players who prove themselves to be considered for selection in the highest grades, share the same experience in player movements and stepping up into higher competition environments.

Like representative teams, players and parents should consider that player movements and changes made by Coaches are part of the game. All Youth competitions in the AFL have the same rules and experiences at competition levels. For some teams, changes will be very minimal, for others there may be weekly changes due to injury, illness, availability, or form. Teams will also attempt to qualify extra players during the season in each division in case of injuries late in the season.

We hope this offers clarity to all players, parents, and Coaches across youth divisional Football.

Southport Sharks Junior AFL.

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