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Learn the rules for AFL 9s!


An AFL 9s field is rectangular in size and divided into 3 zones, Forward, Midfield and Defensive zones. At the start and restart of play, the 9 players on each team must be divided so that 3 players of each team are in each zone of the field. After each start / restart of play there are no restrictions on player movement around the field.


The game commences with a ball up.

After a goal, play is restarted in the centre of the field via a ball up.

If a behind (1 point) is scored the ball is required to be kicked back into play from between the goals by a defender.


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 5 metres in from the boundary line.



A player may stay in possession of the ball for a maximum distance of 30 metres involving one bounce, unless the player is touched with one or two hands (touch) or directed to dispose of the football by the umpire

A turnover occurs when the ball touches the ground as a result of a kick, handball or marking attempt and when the ball goes out of bounds. If a turnover occurs, the game stops and the opposing team gains possession of the ball from where the ball went out of bounds.

Players may attempt to intercept the ball in flight, however must not make contact with an opposing player.

A player is not permitted to touch an opponent unless the player is in possession of the ball.


A Mark is awarded 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.

No player (except for the player on the mark) may be closer than 2 metres away in any direction.

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”

There is to be absolutely no contact in a marking contest. The player in the position where the ball is expected to drop is given every opportunity to mark the ball.

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.


Only designated forwards can kick for goal within their forward scoring zone. This can be during general play by receiving a kick or handball; or upon marking the ball and taking a set shot for goal. A designated forward may kick for goal from a from a Free Kick (initiating contact, holding the ball etc. but not from a turnover from either the ball hitting the ground or going out of bounds. To be eligible to shoot from a set shot, the player kicking for goal must be inside the scoring zone.

In mixed competitions, a goal scored by the female forward is worth 9 points

The field umpire will be the sole judge of whether the kick for goal was successful.

Ball Touching the Ground

A turnover occurs anytime the ball touches the ground, with possession being given to the opposing team of whoever touched the ball last.

The exceptions to this rule are:

  • From a ball up, this rule does not apply until one team has taken clean possession of the ball.  This means that a tap from a ball up can touch the ground.

  • If shooting for goal, you can intentionally kick / dribble the ball along the ground. However, should the ball be touched prior to scoring, the usual turnover of possession will apply.

Dispossessing the player in possession

When a player in possession of the ball is touched by an opponent but deemed to have ‘no prior opportunity’, the umpire will call TOUCH and the player must kick or handpass within two steps or two seconds. Failure to do so will result in a free kick being awarded to the opposing team.

When a player in possession of the ball is deemed to have had ‘prior opportunity’ to dispose of it when touched by an opposing player, the umpire will award a Free Kick to the opposing team.

Run and Bounce

When a player is moving while in possession of the ball he/she must bounce the ball or touch it on the ground after 15 metres. 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 by another player.

Disposal of the ball

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

Bumping / Tackling / Barging

There is to be no contact or spoiling, players cannot:

The exceptions to this rule are:

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

Playing on

The umpire shall call “Play On” in the following:

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.