The Spring 2021 season of Bundaberg AFL 9s has kicked off with more than 166 people registered to play in the social competition.
It's the most amount of participants the local game has ever garnered since its 2013 introduction in the region.
Coordinator Paul Timms said AFL 9s was played each Tuesday evening, with the social game attracting people from a range of different age groups.
“AFL 9s is the touch version of Aussie Rules and is the perfect game for everyone to get involved in,” he said.
“We have teams ranging form juniors and seniors kicking off this season, with games running once a week at Brothers Sports Club.”
He said this season there had also been a huge take up of female players.
“Out of all of the players in our adult teams, 47 per cent are women,” Paul said.
“That is a massive number and is so great to see.”
Paul said the aim of AFL 9s was to get people out, having fun and getting fit.
“There are so many benefits to this game, including taking up some cardio while participating in a great, friendly team environment,” he said.
“It's all about having fun and a lot of the teams that have registered are passionate about having a good time.”
Paul said he was over the moon with the take up of participants this season, putting the success down to a multitude of factors.
“We have 14 teams playing and a total of 166 players – it has been an overwhelming response,” he said.
“This year we tried to target people that had a passion for AFL to get their friends to play.
“There was a lot of promotion and we got really good support from local businesses with 11 sponsors all up.
“I think there is also a big desire at the moment to connect with other people, to socialise and have fun and that's why we have seen the numbers rise.”
Paul said another one of the many benefits of AFL 9s was the opportunity to include the whole family in the sport.
“With teams ranging from juniors to seniors, it's a game that everyone in the family can get involved in,” he said.
“There is no tackling, which I think makes it attractive to families with younger children.
“Also, a lot of people that are playing this year are parents of kids that have played juniors – so they have been on the sidelines but they are now enjoying the fact that they can play too.”
Paul said while the seniors team spots were now fully booked, there was still room for players aged 10 to 13 years in the junior section.
Find out more about AFL 9s here.