Local Footy Week

‘Local Footy Week’ to celebrate the return of the grassroots game

Carlton Football Club players celebrate the return of local footy by wearing jumpers of their junior and local teams to training on Tuesday 19 March, 2024. Photo: Carlton Media

To celebrate the return of senior and junior community football across the country, the AFL is leading an industry-wide campaign, ‘Local Footy Week’, in the week commencing March 25.

Over coming weeks suburban football grounds all over Australia will spring to life with goal posts going up and hundreds of thousands of junior and senior local footballers starting their seasons.

Clubs from the AFL through to state leagues, talent pathway programs and local leagues are encouraged to show their support for the return of local footy, with one way being to hold training sessions with players wearing the jumpers of their junior or community clubs and sharing content to social media.

Carlton Football Club have led the way by conducting a training session this week where their players wore jumpers of their junior local clubs (see pic above and link to Instagram post below).

To put the scale of local football into perspective, in 2023 there were around 230 leagues, 2,600 clubs, 17,500 teams, 530,000 registered participants, from NAB AFL Auskick through to senior club footy, plus more than 200,000 volunteers and tens of thousands of umpires and coaches involved in Australian rules football right across the country.

More than half of the junior and senior community competitions across the country commence on the weekend of 13-14 April, with many other leagues the week either side, so with the 2024 Toyota AFL Premiership Season underway, it’s not long before local footy is back in full swing.

AFL Executive General Manager Game Development, Rob Auld, said: “Local football is the foundation of the game and Local Footy Week presents an opportunity for the whole industry, from AFL right through to grassroots, to celebrate the start of the local footy season.

“Australian rules football means so much to so many. Local footy clubs are often the heartbeat of towns and communities and bring people together. Whether you’re a player, coach, volunteer, umpire, family member, supporter or sponsor, local clubs provide people with a place where they can connect with others and unite behind a common interest.

“All AFL and AFLW players started their football journeys somewhere, many at their local NAB AFL Auskick centre and then junior community club, so it’s important we recognise the role that these clubs and the volunteers who run them play in the journeys of all players, including our elite game stars. Local Footy Week gives the whole football industry the opportunity to celebrate the start of the footy season at all levels.

“We are also coming into an important period for local football clubs to drive player registrations and get their lists locked in as they approach round one.

“To everyone involved in local football, all the best for the 2024 season.”

Last month the AFL announced that it will invest $1 billion over the next decade to help build our game at the community level with a view to doubling the number of registered participants in that time to more than one million registered participants by 2033 and achieve its goal of getting footy in every home in Australia.

Players, volunteers, coaches and umpires can register via the AFL’s recently launched local football platform play.afl