Westbrook JAFL Playing Up Policy

In the main, Westbrook want kids playing in their correct age groups.  The quality of a player’s development, safety, the impact on an age group, and the overall club experience are all important considerations.

The AFL Sydney Juniors By-Laws state that players are allowed to ‘play up’ an age group. In the event that a player requests to play ‘two’ age groups above their true age, special dispensation is required from the Regional Committee if they are to be placed permanently in that team. This is common in the U17s which is a combined 16/17 age group.

For Westbrook players playing up, approval is required from our Committee.  Points to consider;

–       Player’s ability – Skills and/or size is a factor and relevant to the standard to be played. Personal development of identified talent is also critical.

–       Friends – Players join our club for many reasons and we want kids to play with friends where possible to encourage ongoing recruitment and retention. This however is a challenge when we grade kids later on. The higher division is based on merit.

–       Competition – In Non-competitive age groups (9,10s) we have been more flexible as zones and smaller numbers are involved.  That said, we encourage players to remain in their correct age group as early as possible in their playing career to ensure team stability moving forward. As we go into older Competitive age groups (11-17s) we expect to see a small percentage of players out of age and we will follow the AFL Bylaws.

–       Team Numbers – In the event that an age group is unable to field a team, the Westbrook Committee reserves the right to have players play in a particular age group.  An example of this is when a team does not have enough players to field minimum numbers in a particular week.

Incorrect placement of a player can impact multiple teams and age groups. With all of the above, the overall decision will be the optimal solution for both the club and the player/s.   Incentive programs are available to recruit players as well to help mitigate gaps.