BY NATHAN DOLE
SEVEN clubs have increased team numbers for the Bendigo Bank Junior Football League season.
Play for the under-12 girls and mixed, under-14 girls and mixed, under-16 girls and boys, and under-18 girls competitions kicks off this weekend.
First matches are on Friday night when the under-12 girls take to the field.
Junior/Female footy operations manager for AFL Central Victoria, Nathan Williams said some changes had been made to the under-12 girls competition.
“Matches for under-12 girls will be played on Friday nights,” Williams said.
“This season the opening three rounds will be non-competitive.
“It will be a competitive division from round four.”
Williams said the non-competitive age groups of under-9 mixed, and under-10 mixed will start their season in the third round on May 13.
“Team numbers for most age groups have increased, or stayed the same as last season,” Williams said.
“A great result was seven clubs fielding more team in ’23,” said Williams.
“Lockington Bamawm United has added its under-15 team to the under-16s competition for the first time.
“Clubs which have increased team numbers are Castlemaine, Huntly, Marong, North Bendigo, Rochester, and St Kilian’s-St Peter’s.”
The cubs from Kyneton FNC have made the move across to the Riddell District FNL.
There will seven teams represent the Tigers.
In a comparison with last season, Williams said the under-9 mixed non-competitive division would have 30 teams in ’23, which is up by five.
The under-10 mixed has 21 teams.
Matches for both age groups are on Saturdays.
There are seven teams in under-12 girls to be played Friday nights, and 34 in under-12 mixed to be played on Saturdays.
Play for under-14 girls, seven teams; under-14 mixed, 23 teams; under-16 girls, four teams; under-16 boys, 19 teams; under-18 girls, five teams; will be on Sundays.
There is an opportunity for junior coaches to take part in the AFL Junior Coaching Curriculum with leading footy experts to be run on Monday, May 1 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm at Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve.
“Coaches are the key influencers in creating a positive junior footy experience,” said Williams.
To register for the AFL Junior Coaching Curriculum, go to https://form.jotform.com/231119142336043
Club representation in the Bendigo JFL stretches far and wide.
Clubs involved in 2023 are Castlemaine, Eaglehawk, Golden Square, Heathcote, Huntly, Kangaroo Flat, Lockington Bamawm United, Maiden Gully YCW Eagles, Marong, Maryborough, Mount Pleasant, North Bendigo, Quarry Hill, Rochester, Sandhurst, South Bendigo, St Francis, St Kilian’s-St Peter’s, St Monica’s, St Therese’s, Strathfieldsaye, White Hills, and Woorinen Tigers.
Bendigo Bank kicks on as naming rights sponsor of the Bendigo JFL which is one of the biggest junior football leagues in country Victoria.
“IGA and Cavalier Homes are also major sponsors,” Williams said.
The BJFL’s long-time moniker of tomorrow’s stars are playing today still rings true.