AFL 9sAFL 9s – the Australian Football League’s non-contact, social version of the sport, has made its way to Florida.

Using a match of AFL 9s as a training exercise emphasizing point-to-point passing, ball movement and shooting on goal, the St. Petersburg Swans played a rousing match on the rectangle, Saturday, January 21 in St. Pete.

Deviating from the club’s normal regimen of off-season training sessions, followed by a 9-a-side intra-squad ‘metro’ (full-contact) match, the Swans unveiled AFL 9s in a bid to emphasize kicking and marking skill development.

Despite a final result that showed a tally of *18* behinds in the 60-minute game, Senior Coach Dustin Jones noted the use of AFL 9s illustrated progress in installing an attacking offense that highlights generating penetration into forward, while also teaching players the importance of clearing the ball out of danger on defense.

In one particular rough sequence for the Kangas side, a short kick from goal square after a Suncoast Suns behind resulted in a turnover, followed immediately by a Suns’ major.

Given that Jones felt the initial pressure on the first point should have been turned away, a sequence that should have resulted in no Suns points, in fact became seven.

St. Pete Swans training January 21, 2017 featured use of AFL 9s rules in an intra-squad scrimmage

Jones plans to integrate AFL 9s matches in training and intra-squad play, noting that an occasional ‘touch’ match – while not overly popular with the club’s footy veterans – gives newer players another chance to hone their passing accuracy, marking skills and shooting in a match environment.

The St. Pete Swans also have umpiring members with AFL 9s accreditation.

The St. Petersburg Swans return to weekly training this Saturday, January 28. Sessions begin at 10 AM, on the Common at Crescent Lake in St. Pete.
Training will be followed immediately by an intra-squad match, as the Pasco Black Dog take on Starfish FC.


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