AFI World 9s
Through my experience in growing Australian Football internationally, it has become apparent that the traditional 18-a-side game provides a number of significant participation barriers. These include:

  • a lack of access to suitably sized fields
  • the large number of players required to field two teams, and
  • significant infrastructure in the form of goal posts and line marking.

As a result, I developed Footy 9s to allow Australian Football to be played on rectangular fields throughout the world – whether Soccer, Rugby or American Football.

Whilst based in Europe I created the EU Cup and ARUK National League to test the potential of 9-a-side footy outside Australia.

After umpiring over 100 matches of 9-a-side footy, I realised it was time to remove the behind posts. Although they are an iconic feature of our game, they are just not required on a smaller field. I also believed that we needed to use the existing line markings of the fields we were playing on. By removing the need to find and install behind posts, and to mark fields, we would make it much easier for locals to take up a new game.

It was time to road-test these new features and so I decided to create a new tournament to do exactly that. As a result the inaugural World 9s were held in Melbourne in 2019. The venue was Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park.

The 8 competing teams were Chile, Ireland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland and Team Harmony. I am pleased to confirm the World 9s were a great success!