Key Rules and By-Laws changes ahead of the 2021/22 TIO NTFL season


AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) in conjunction with the TIO Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) By-Law Committee have finalised the 2021/22 Rules and By-Laws with changes made in line with last season’s review. 

These changes focus on improving competition structure, game environment, governance, and patron experience. 

For the full version of the 2021/22 NTFL Rules and Regulations, see the PDF file here

For the full version of the 2021/22 NTFL By-Laws, see the PDF file here

Outlined in By-Law 3.16, the key change for the upcoming season is the introduction of an Environment Point (E-Point) model as part of the junior and youth competitions. This model has successfully worked in New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania leagues in encouraging positive game environments, regardless of the scoreboard. E-Point will ensure our game remains fun and safe for all participants.

E-Point Explained: 
Each team in Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 competitions can be rewarded with up to four (4) premiership points per game if they are deemed to create a safe game environment, making each game a true eight (8) point game. 

E-Points are rewarded to teams who show good behaviour on and off the field by encouraging players, staff, parents and supporters to be good sports. 

Umpire abuse, abuse of opposition players, yellow and red cards, reportable offensives and code of conduct breaches are all reasons why a team may not receive E-Points points.

Ladder positions will be calculated on total points, inclusive of both Premiership and E-Point points, rewarding teams who demonstrate their positive game environment throughout the home and away season and gives them a better chance at playing finals.  

All junior and youth grades will have top four teams heading into the final’s series. The TIO NTFL will also run a E-Point plate (game or series) during finals which will be based on E-Points only. 

The league will also see the introduction of new competitions in the female space due to the increase of female participation in the Top End while also aligning with the education system. Instead of girls and boys both playing in the Under 12 competition, it has now been split into two. The TIO NTFL are also dissolving the Under 15 Girls competition and replacing it with both Under 14 and Under 16 competitions to complete the female community football pathway. 

Additional Junior Female Grades Explained:
The age qualification for all junior and youth competitions has now been aligned with the Northern Territory education system, rather than spread over more than two school grades. 

For example: 
Those who wish to play in the Under 12 competition are required to have turned 10 years of age by 30 June in the year the competition commences and are less than 12 years of age on 1 July in the year the competition commences. These players will also fall into the school grades of 5 and 6.

These grade additions will promote greater participation recruitment and retention in our competitions as children are more likely to be playing with their school friends.

AFLNT Community Football Manager Leigh Elder thanked the By-Laws Committee for their work during the off-season to make the league even better. 

The TIO NTFL By-Law Committee, led by AFLNT Board Member Lincoln Jenkin, includes TIO NTFL club members, NTFL Umpires Association Life Member Gary Turnball and NTFL Competition Manager Gavin May. 

The TIO NTFL club By-Law Committee members are Rick Nolan of PINT Football Club, David Totham of Wanderers Football Club, Leigh Crossman of Banks Football Club, Ryan Ayres of Waratah Football Club, Peter Mullins of Southern Districts Football Club.

Elder explained all changes to the TIO NTFL Rules and By-Laws have been developed to benefit the whole of the NTFL. 

“I’m really excited to see the implantation of the E-Point model operating in the Top End as I have personally seen it operate in two other states. No other game environment program has had such a dramatic effect in such a positive way on junior and youth competitions,” he said.

“It creates a leadership model by ensuring every team member, inclusive of players, coaches, managers and volunteers are accountable for their actions in order to improve the environment.

“A team may only win three games for the year and may still play in a final’s series due to their positive environment – a great reward.”

Other key changes for the 2021/22 season:

  • As outlined in By-Law 3.1(c), Women’s Premier League interchange players will be reduced from six to four.  As requested by clubs, this change will assist with management of players. The previous interchange player number was adopted due not having multiple grades in the Women’s competition. The Reserves grade is now heading into its third season. 
  • By-Law 3.8.1 explains all senior grade matches deemed a draw within the finals series will result in extra time. This means all senior grades will follow the same rules as Premier League and will no longer play the golden point rule. 
  • The amended Rules and Regulation point 5.6.3(aii) and By-Law 5.2 outlines that in Division 1, Division 2 and Under 18 grades, a player must play four games with a specific team in order to qualify for finals. Any player participating in multiple games across different grades during a single round will only be recognised as playing in the highest-grade in that round. This process is important to note when applying for finals qualification. These rules reduce the ability for clubs to load up teams in lower grades and rewards those players who have been regular players in a single team all season. 
  • Rules and Regulation point 3.23 amended at the request of our clubs allows all teams can now warm up at three quarter time of the game previous to them as long as they do not interfere or delay the current game.  

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