The Picola & District Football League will introduce a new ‘fifths’ footy competition this year.
The competition will be for Under 11s players and will be played on a 100m field.
The games will consist of four eight-minute quarters, with an instant changeover between first and second quarters and the third and fourth quarters and a two minute break at half time.
Picola League operations manager Shane Railton said the competition would give younger players more game time throughout the year.
‘‘It will be a way for young footy players to bridge between Auskick and Under 14s footy,’’ he said.
‘‘It also gives the opportunity for these younger players to play against their own size rather than coming up against 14 year-olds.
‘‘The footy clubs should benefit from these younger players having more game time as well, giving these kids a chance to develop their footy skills earlier.’’
The Under 11s competition will have its own modified rules, with a minimum of 10 players needed per side and just one umpire.
‘‘Each side will also be allowed to have one coach on the field to give guidance,’’ Railton said.
‘‘The 10 players on each side can come from either club. This allows the clubs who have less than 10 Under 11s players to still participate.’’
Scores, a ladder, best players and goal kickers will not be recorded.
Players will be allowed to take one bounce maximum while running with the ball and a free kick will be awarded against the side who last touched the ball when it goes out of bounds.
Other rules include no sling tackles, no kicking off the ground and no fending off the tackler.
The local footy clubs in the Picola League had their say on the competition:
Michael Norman (Blighty Football Club president): ‘‘I think it’s a great idea. We have a fair few kids under the age of 11 so it will give them a chance to essentially graduate to the fourths. It’s good for the kids as they can be guaranteed a game and it makes things easier on the coach for the fourths so they don’t feel bad for leaving out some players from their side.’’
Wally Bulmer (Deniliquin Rovers president): ‘‘If the numbers are there for the other clubs we’re more than happy to go along with it as we have plenty of Under 11s kids. ‘‘It will be a fantastic opportunity for younger players to get a game each week. My biggest concern is not having the numbers to keep the competition going. We already have Auskick going on here in Deni and our club is also in cahoots with a few other clubs to play Auskick games during half time or after the seniors games, and we don’t want to be treading on their toes. It also means there’s more for us to do and it may be hard to find the volunteers to start the day earlier on what is already a big day, but either way we are supportive of the decision.’’
Lori McCormick (Mathoura secretary): ‘‘This competition will benefit parents who don’t want their younger kids playing competition footy yet. But from a club perspective, the logistics of squeezing another game in and finding the numbers for players and extra volunteers may prove difficult for us.’’