SANFL has announced it will be enhancing its talent pathways from 2022 with the introduction of a SANFLW development league and extension of the Under 16 Torrens University Cup boys’ competition to a full season.
The new and extended competitions, approved by the South Australia Football Commission, have been developed in consultation with the SANFL Clubs.
The new women’s development league, with teams from the eight SANFL Clubs, will be a seven-round competition aligned to the SANFLW season, commencing in February and concluding in late March.
SANFL General Manager Football Matt Duldig said the new league would fill a void for developing elite female players who were not selected in a SANFLW team, providing an opportunity to gain valuable match play during the SANFLW season.
Mr Duldig said the introduction of the new competition also comes on the back of SANFL’s decision to move to a reduced 16-a-side SANFLW competition in 2022 to align with the AFLW.
“The female development league will provide an essential feeder competition into SANFLW, enhancing the skill level and depth of our elite female competition,” Mr Duldig said.
“Importantly, it will also benefit those players not selected in a SANFLW team to continue to develop their game in an elite training and playing environment with their SANFL Club.”
SANFL General Manager Football Matt Duldig
The female development league will provide an essential feeder competition into SANFLW, enhancing the skill level and depth of our elite female competition
The U16 Torrens University Cup, previously a seven-round competition, will be extended to a full season, in line with the elite U18 Torrens University competition.
Mr Duldig said the extended competition would provide talented male players from the age of 15 with access to an elite talent program at their SANFL Club for an extended period.
“Ultimately our aim is to provide the best possible talent pathways for male and female players, coaches and umpires in SA, giving them the best opportunity to participate at either SANFL or AFL level.
“Growing the pool of talent within our SANFL Clubs is also vital to underpin the strength and growth of our elite men’s and women’s State League competitions which provide an aspirational pathway for young up and coming players.”