Preparations for the 2020/21 TIO NTFL season are ramping up as AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) has tonight presented to clubs the key updates to its Rules & Regulations and NTFL By-Laws.
This off-season, AFLNT's focus has been on addressing some of the ambiguity and issues with the rules raised during previous seasons, along with trying to reduce the cost burden on the clubs and League that has arisen from COVID-19.
The rules most likely to be of interest to players, clubs and fans alike are listed below in text and above in video format, with a high-level summary included. Full details for each rule will be part of the updated 2020-21 editions of the documents that will be made available to clubs and also published online shortly.
- 3.9.2 AFLNT Rules & Regulations: Competition – Playing Numbers: Has been updated to state that teams competing in the Youth Girls competitions (Under 15 and Under 18) shall have no more than 16 players on the field and six (6) on the interchange. This is consistent with senior women's football and will make it easier for clubs to manage.
- 3.9.2 AFLNT Rules & Regulations: Competition – Playing Numbers: Has been updated so that if a team submits a team sheet that does not accurately represent the team that took the field during that match the team will now receive a fine instead of automatically being deemed to have forfeited the game. However, an investigation will also be conducted into the breach, which may determine further penalties such as loss of points.
- 3.14 AFLNT Rules & Regulations: Competition – Consequence of Forfeiture: Has been updated so that where a team is removed from a competition all preceding matches in which they were scheduled to play will now be reflected as a forfeit and their opposition will be awarded a 60 to zero-point win.
In junior divisions, Under 16s and below, matches may be re-fixtured where available so that the juniors are not missing out on opportunities to play.
- 5.5 AFLNT Rules & Regulations: Junior Core Lists: Has been introduced to help keep consistency and fairness across junior grades. This covers the divisions from Under 12s through to Under 16s.
Clubs fielding multiple teams in the same age group must provide a Core List of Core Players to the Competition Manager for the higher division team, which includes any representative or Academy players.
Any player listed on their club’s Core List will be required to play in their club’s top division team and will not be able to play down a division.
The number of players on the Core List is determined by age-group.
- 10.10 AFLNT Rules & Regulations: Fines & Penalties: Fines will now be relevant to a particular breach of a rule from the AFLNT Rules & Regulations or NTFL By-Laws and have been weighted by the level of the offence; minor to major. This means there is no longer blanket fines, which sometimes resulted in significant fines for minor breaches. A full list of the Fines & Penalties can be found in the Appendix of the Rules & Regulations.
- 3.2 NTFL By-Laws: Rules – Fly-In Players: In the 2020/21 TIO NTFL season, clubs will be permitted to play a maximum of three (3) fly-in players per round and a maximum of eight (8) for the season.
This rule will be applied across Men’s Premier League and Division 1.
For example, a Men’s Premier League club may choose to play two (2) fly-ins in their Men’s Premier League game and one(1) fly-in in Division 1 of the same round, but must not exceed a total of three (3) fly-ins across the two grades.
Division 1 only clubs also have a maximum of three (3) fly-ins per round and a total of eight (8) for the season.
- 3.11.6 NTFL By-Laws: Rules – Player Points System: In the 2020/21 TIO NTFL season, two new player points categories have been added.
A Returning Junior Club Player, who is 21 or younger on the 1st of January in the year that the competition commences, who is returning to the club in which he has played a minimum of three (3) junior seasons, where he would've met the finals qualification rules, will be worth two (2) points (down from four points) if they played six (6) or more Men’s Premier League games in the last 12 months or zero (0) points if it was less than six (6) games. To qualify under this classification, the player must not have spent more than two (2) seasons away from his junior club.
The same points allocation will apply for a returning Tiwi junior local who is defined as being 21 or younger on the 1st of January in the year that the competition commences who having resided in Darwin for the purpose of education is relocating home to the Tiwi Islands.
- 3.11.16 NTFL By-Laws: Rules – Player Points System: In the 2020/21 TIO NTFL season, a points concession will apply for the relocation of interstate players. A club may apply to receive a concession for a maximum of four (4) players in which that player will be allocated one (1) point regardless of category.
Any relocated players above and beyond the maximum allowable four (4) players will attract the normal points value.
Any player that relocates to the Northern Territory must meet the AFLNT Residency Test before participating in a Men’s Premier League match.
- 5.2 NTFL By-Laws: Player Eligibility – NTFL Finals Matches: In the 2020/21 TIO NTFL season, the player eligibility for finals has been updated.
A Player is eligible to play a Men’s Premier League finals match for a club if that player has played a minimum of four (4) Minor Round matches for that club, this is two (2) fewer games than previous seasons.
Eligibility criteria for all other non-Men’s Premier League divisions will remain as is at three (3) games.
These changes were made following months of earnest consultation, that started with clubs taking up the invitation to submit their ideas for rules changes and additions to the NTFL Laws Committee.
The NTFL Laws Committee, chaired by AFLNT Board member, Lincoln Jenkin and made up of representatives from six different clubs and the NTFL Umpiring Association, met on multiple occasions to review the submissions forwarded by the clubs and AFLNT.
The Committee worked through the items meticulously before a list of suggested changes and recommendations was sent to the AFLNT Executive for endorsement.
The AFLNT Executive considered the points before presenting all data back to the clubs at the presidents' meeting in June, where further discussion and opinions were voiced.
Based on that, the final version of the AFLNT Rules & Regulations and NTFL By-Laws for 2020-21 was drawn up and endorsed by the AFLNT Executive in preparation for tonight’s release.
AFLNT Manager of Community Football Emily Wastle-Hopkins said; “In reviewing rules and by-laws ahead of the 2020/21 TIO NTFL season, we provided all NTFL clubs the opportunity to submit a request for review to the Laws Committee.
“The Laws Committee met multiple times to review the submissions along with the Rules & Regulations and By-Laws in full, taking into consideration the impact that COVID-19 has had on our community.
“On behalf of AFLNT, I would like to thank the Laws Committee for their commitment and dedication to this task.
“We hope that the greater NTFL community will also see the benefit these changes provide,” she said.