Boarding school students and fly-in players considered in changes to 2018/19 NTFL By-Laws

Maurice Rioli Jnr tackles Sam Weddell

NT players who attend school interstate no longer being counted as a fly-in player, and the date to prove NT residency status being shifted back a month are just two of the key updates to the 2018/19 TIO NTFL By-Laws announced by AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) today.  

Coinciding with yesterday’s release of the 2018/19 TIO NTFL Men’s Premier League fixture, AFLNT has made public the competition’s governing rules.  

For the full version of the 2018/19 NTFL By-Laws, see the PDF file here

The changes have been made off the back of club feedback, were worked through the NTFL Laws Committee, which was made up of both club and AFLNT representatives, and endorsed by the AFLNT Executive. 

AFLNT CEO Stuart Totham said the collaborative effort between club representatives and AFLNT’s football operations team had produced positive outcomes for the competition.    

“After significant changes to the by-laws last season, the changes this year are considered minor, and have been made with the aim to provide greater clarity to existing rules and to bring about consistency and fairness across the different divisions and clubs,” he said. 

Most likely to be of greatest interest to clubs, players and fans alike will be the changes to the Fly-In Player Rules

Club feedback suggested that the Fly-In Player Rules were not clear enough, therefore they have been re-written with the assistance of the AFL legal team based in Melbourne and were given further input from the Laws Committee.

There are three significant changes to the Fly-In Rules:

NTFL By-Law 3.12.3: A person that would ordinarily reside in the Northern Territory but for them attending secondary school outside of the Northern Territory (border), will not be classified as a Fly-In Player for any Men’s Premier League matches.

Clubs will still be limited to playing a maximum of 12 fly-In players throughout the season but this rule will ease the restriction for many players who grew up and played their formative years in the NT. Provisions to this rule have been included so that AFLNT can confirm that they are school students who would otherwise normally reside in the NT. 

NTFL By-Law 3.12.13: Where a Men’s Premier League team breaches the Fly-In Player Rules, that club will be fined the sum of $10,000.00.

NTFL By-Law 3.12.14: Where a Men’s Premier League team breaches these Fly-In Player Rules, that club’s Men’s Premier League Coach will be suspended for a minimum of two (2) matches.

These rules clearly demonstrate AFLNT’s stance on protecting the integrity and future of our premier local competition. 

And in conjunction with the extra month interstate players now have to obtain NT residency-status, clubs have more flexibility than last season; 

NTFL By-Law Appendix 7: AFLNT Residency Test

The date to confirm residency has been moved from the 1st of October to the 1st of November.

This change has been brought about to accommodate players that cannot move to Darwin before the 1st of October due to playing conditions in southern states.

However, it's important to note that a fly-in player who plays before the 1st of November will still be listed as such and cannot be removed from the Fly-In Player List even if they relocate to the NT at a later date. 

The other changes to the 2018-19 NTFL By-Laws are:

NTFL By-Law 3.7.1: All senior men’s and under 18 boys competitions will play the AFLNT Final Five (4 Weeks) Finals Series at the completion of the Home & Away Season.

All senior women’s and under 18 girls competitions will play the AFLNT Final Six (3 Weeks) Finals Series at the completion of the Home & Away Season.

This means that the Under 18s and senior divisions (Men’s Premier League, Women’s Premier League, Men’s Division 1 and Men’s Divisions 2) are now aligned and will have the same finals structure. 

NTFL By-Law 3.11.1: It is the responsibility of each club to submit a squad of up to 30 players that their Men’s Premier League team will be selected from by 8:30pm on the Thursday prior to each Premier League match.

Clubs have been given an extra half an hour and two extra players that they can submit as part of their initial team list on Thursday. 

NTFL By-Law 3.11.4 (a): Where a club’s senior Men’s Division 1 team and/or Under 18 Boys team is scheduled to play the day before that club’s Men’s Premier League team, players that have already participated in that Men’s Division 1 team or Under 18 Boys team, may be included in the Men’s Premier League Team should one of the 22 listed players be a late withdrawal from the Premier League Team...

There are provisions to this, such as the players have to be on the media list sent in on Thursdays and they can’t have already played on the same day. The change has been made to provide greater flexibility after data collected last season identified that in some circumstances the players listed as Men’s Premier League emergencies had already played.

NTFL By-Law 3.11.10: A player who has played less than six (6) NTFL premier league matches in the previous 12 months will be allocated zero (0) points when transferring to another NTFL club.

Last year the Men’s Premier League finals eligibility was raised to six matches, therefore it is appropriate that this rule is brought into line with finals eligibility of the previous season. We recognise that six matches equate to having played a season for finals eligibility and therefore, also within the player points system.

One NTFL By-Law to be removed was;

NTFL By-Law 6.1.5: Unless otherwise agreed between the respective clubs, clubs may apply for clearances for no more than five (5) players from any one other club in any NTFL season.

Given that this rule does not meet the requirements of the National Transfer Regulations it has now been removed.

Updates to the NTFL By-Laws appendixes sections include;

NTFL By-Law Appendix 2: Grand Final Best Player Conditions

Clear guidelines for voting and awarding best on ground players in the various TIO NTFL grand finals have been included so that the process is both transparent and consistent across all divisions. 

NTFL By-Law Appendix 8: NTFC Player Movement Rule

These rules have been simplified to make it easier for players to switch from NT Thunder back to their NTFL club. 

1. NT Thunder players are subject to Individualised Player Management Plans with no “automatic” entitlement to play a minimum or a maximum number of matches. The individualised Player Management Plan is to be provided to the NTFL Clubs by October 1st each year.

2. Individualised Player Management Plan process

a.    Players who play NTFL and with NTFC in back to back seasons will be provided with the individualised Player Management Plan by NTFC.  The plan is to be provided by October 1st for the NTFL season
b.    Where there is disagreement between the Player Management Plan developed by the NTFC and the NTFL Club, an independent sports science consultant will be asked to arbitrate.

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