Frequently Asked Questions: Interleague

What is it?

The SMJFL provides kids from our member clubs their first opportunity to play representative football from U13, U14, U15 and Under 17 Colts. There is also an Under 12 INTRA-League match in which two nominated players from each club get the opportunity to all train together then play a “friendly” exhibition match.

What Competitions do they play?

Under 12 Intra-league: SMJFL players vs SMJFL players

Under 13 – play against three other metropolitan leagues in a one day carnival which the leagues take it in turns to host.

Under 14 & Under 15 – Play at the AFL Victoria Metropolitan Junior Championships against other metropolitan leagues. There are 3 games  all around the Queens Birthday weekend (31st May, 10th June & 12th June 2017), with a possibility of a Grand Final a week or two later if the team finishes 1st or 2nd in their group.

How are players picked to participate?

Players are nominated by their club, generally in November. The number of nominations a club is allowed vary depending on the number of teams it fields in the appropriate age group. In previous seasons some players have been pre-selected if they have represented the SMJFL in the previous season, however, for 2018 this will change to NO pre-invited players, allowing the clubs total control (and more) nominations.

Once nominations have been received by the League a letter is sent to the player inviting them to participate in weekly training sessions with the League’s highly qualified coaching staff beginning in February at a cost of $40.

During the program there are player releases, the number and timing of which depend on the age group. Not every player makes it to the final interleague team and if “released” from the program at Under 14 or U15 a player has the option of continuing with the Sandringham Dragons (in 2017). Under 13s go back to club football, but are also provided with the details of external development training programs if they wish to take them up. This provides players with a continuous program if desired.

It should be noted for the older age groups that players only participate in one program at a time, the Dragons program runs alongside the SMJFL one, with players only entering Dragons training when released from the SMJFL squad, this is to avoid over-training.

Is anyone eligible?

Players must be of the appropriate age group (can’t play “up” in Interleague) and have been at the same club in the previous season. If players move clubs over summer they are no longer eligible for Interleague. This is a league initiative designed to encourage better players to remain at the club they have developed at, whilst still being able to experience high level training and games if talented enough. Exemptions may be applied for in some circumstances.

How long is the program?

Training begins in February, and continues through to the Queens Birthday weekend. There are breaks in training over school holidays.

Where do the coaches come from?

Our coaches are carefully selected for their commitment to developing young players, and we try to have a mix of youth and experience in each group. The head-coach for each age group mentors the less experienced (but still qualified) coaches in his/her group. No coach is allowed to coach in an age group their child participates in to avoid any conflicts of interest. Coaches are paid a small honourarium, but are essentially volunteers, and should be treated with respect for the job they do with our players.

What uniform do I need to buy?

No uniform is necessary for the training phase of the program except for club jumpers. This is to identify the participants for the coaching staff. If a player makes the final team (not emergencies) then they pay a fee which covers all uniform and playing costs.

What happens if I make the final team?

If a player is selected in an SMJFL team to contest the AFL Victoria Metropolitan Junior Championships there is an additional cost of $280 ($150 for Girls) to cover carnival costs and uniform items. At the conclusion of the carnival early July all players are given the option to join in the Dragons program which continues to run until late September – the cost of the Dragons program is $375 whether entering at the beginning or later on. If an Under 13 player makes the final team for the Interleague carnival the cost is $230.

What is the Sandringham Dragons Program?

The Sandringham Dragons program is a development program which compliments and runs alongside the Leagues Interleague program. As a development program there are no games against other leagues and no player releases. The program is an additional program offered to assist players in their continued development in the age group.

What if I don’t live in the Dragons region?

TAC Cup teams are regionally based. Your residential address dictates which club you may train with. The SMJFL is predominantly a Dragons area, with a smaller number of players located in the Oakleigh Chargers or Dandenong Stingrays zones. If you are in this situation we can put you in contact with the appropriate organisation.

What is the Under 17 Interleague?

The Under 17 Colts are a “representative” side, meaning that every club that has an Under 17 team will be represented by at least one player in a one-off annual match against the Yarra JFL. If a club chooses not to nominate players then they will not be included in this match. Clubs are asked to nominate 2-3 players each to make up the initial squad, and we ask that these are not necessarily the “best” players, but those who have remained loyal to their club. This program has been designed as a reward for those long serving players within the league.

Nominations for the Colts match are later in the season, and there is a 5-6 week training period leading up to the final match on the 10th September, 2017.