Football (Australian Rules)

Australian rules football, also known as Australian football, Aussie rules, or simply ‘football’ or ‘footy’ is a code of football played with a spheroid ball on large, oval-shaped fields with four posts at each end. 

No more than 18 players of each team are permitted to be on the field at any time, with interchange players on the bench. The primary aim of the game is to score by kicking the ball between the posts. The winner is the team with the highest total score by the end of the match.

Australian Rules Seniors

Playing surface

The playing surface is oval in shape, between 135m and 185m long and between 110m and 155m wide. A white line called the boundary line is drawn in the shape of an arc from the behind post at one end of the playing surface to the behind post at the other end of the playing surface. A spectator line is marked at least 2m outside the boundary line and 3m behind the goals.

AFL Ground
The following areas are marked on the playing surface:

  • a square, called the centre square, is located at the centre of the playing surface and is 50m long and 50m wide
  • a centre circle 3m in diameter and an outer circle 10m in diameter are located in the middle of the centre square. It is divided into two semi-circles by a straight line parallel with each goal line
  • an interchange area 15m wide
  • the goal square at each end of the playing surface is marked by two 9m lines at right angles to the goal line from each goal post. These two lines are connected by a straight line called the kick-off line
  • the goal line and the behind line

  • a 50m arc at each end of the playing surface

Goal and behind posts

Two posts called goal posts are placed at each end of the playing surface at a distance of 6.4m apart. The minimum height is 6m.

A further two posts called behind posts are placed 6.4m on each side of the goals posts. A straight line is drawn on the ground to join each post. The minimum height of the behind posts is 3m.

Padding is attached around each goal and behind post as follows:

  • minimum of 35mm thick foam padding, covered in canvas or painted
  • minimum height of 2.5m from the bottom of each post
  • wide enough to allow the padding to be fixed around all posts
  • paddling must be securely attached around each post

Run-off and fencing

Run-off between the playing field boundary and fence is 5m. Oval fencing is approximately 900mm high with mesh infill and allows for 5m run-off.


The major elements of the game influencing visual tasks are the fast pace, low to medium-trajectory kicks in all directions, marking of high trajectory kicks and the wide playing field. In outdoor stadiums, floodlights are positioned evenly around the area rather than along the sides, but not near the goal posts. At least four poles are required so as to provide light all around the ball and also to minimise shadows that could mask opposition players. The newer indoor stadiums do not have light towers ─ the lights are built into the roof.

Relatively even illuminance should be achieved on the playing surface and in the space above this surface to a height equal to the highest expected trajectory of the ball. Large variations in illuminance across this space would cause apparent uneven flight of the ball and hence poor judgement by the players.

Below are the recommended lux levels for outdoor grounds for Australian Rules Football:

Recommended lighting levels
Grade Ball, physical training Club competition, match practice Competition
Amateur, semi-professional 50 lux 100 lux 200 lux
Professional 100 lux 200 lux 500 lux

Youth Football

Youth football is for 13−17 year olds and provides the link from Auskick to the adult game. Youth football extends individual and game skills and develops an awareness and understanding in all facets of the game, particularly team strategies.

Field of play

The field size for 13-year-olds is reduced based on the policy that the field is approximately three-and-a-half kicks long. This allows the opportunity for skill development and positional play appropriate to the skill and fitness of the players.

Male: 13 years

  • 120m– 140m long, not to exceed 130m
  • wide/150m long

Male:14−17 years

  • 135m – 185m long/ 110 – 155m wide

Female: 13–15 years

  • 75m x 50m for 9-a-side matches
  • 90m x 60m for 12-a-side matches
  • 110m x 80m for 15-a-side matches

Female: 16 – 18 years

  • 130m long – 80m wide not to exceed
  • 150m long – 110m wide

Markings include the boundary line, centre square and circle, goal squares, interchange area, with 50m radius line optional. A spectator “boundary line” 2m outside the field boundary line is recommended.


Auskick is the Australian Football League’s (AFL) introductory program for primary school-aged boys and girls and their families.

9−12 years

NAB AFL Auskick rules are designed to allow participants to learn the basic skills of AFL football in a modified environment ensuring optimum individual development. The players progress from the NAB Auskick program and become part of a set team playing in a fixtured inter-club competition.

The following dimensions are used for Auskick playing fields: 

Dimensions for Auskick
5-8 years 9-10 years 11-12 years
Divide into 3 zones Divide into 3 zones 110 x 80m
6-a-side 60m x 40m (3 x 20m zones) 9-a-side 75m x 50m (3 x 25m zones)
9-a-side 75m x 50m (3 x 25m zones) 12-a-side 90m x 60m (3 x 30m zones)
12-a-side 90m x 60m (3 x 30m zones) 15-a-side 105m x 80m (3 x 35m zones)

These field sizes are the optimum size and flexibility is often needed. In particular, smaller field sizes may be required e.g. a 6-a-side 9-year-olds match would need a field less than 75m long.

Witches hats, domes or plastic ice-cream containers can be used to help mark the field.  No centre square is required.

Playing positions also depend on the number of players in each team. The diagrams below illustrate the positions for the different options.

AFL Auskick field placings

5−8 years 

NAB AFL Auskick program is the introduction to football for 5, 6, 7 and 8 year olds. The children participate in co-ordination activities in preparation for learning the skills of Australian Football. It is primarily designed around free play, child centred activities involving basic skills and above all, enjoyment. 

AFL Auskick 5-8 yrs

AFL Recreational Football

AFL recreational football provides an opportunity for all Australian football enthusiasts to participate in a game that has strong parallels with the traditional game. AFL recreational football is not physically demanding, can be played by all ages and genders and, most importantly, has an emphasis on fun and safety. This non-contact game is played between two teams of eight with an unlimited number of interchange players. All that is needed is a footy and a set of portable goal posts, markers or appropriate substitutes.

AFL recreational football is played in a variety of settings due to its social nature. The game is designed so that it can be played by a group of friends in a park or in a more structured environment at local community clubs. The playing ground measures a maximum of 100m x 50m and is divided into three zones on a 20/60/20 basis. This can be modified depending on the age and ability level of participants. The field may be oval or rectangular in shape depending on facilities available. Field markers or line paint may be used to mark the boundary line and zones as illustrated.

AFL recreational football ground layout

Sport association details

Western Australian Football Commission Inc

Gary Walton
Chief Executive
Gate 6, Subiaco Oval, Subiaco Road Subiaco WA 6904
PO Box 275 SUBIACO WA 6008
Telephone 08 9381 5599


The information in this guide is general in nature and cannot be relied upon as professional advice concerning the design of, or marking out for, sporting facilities and playing areas. No assurance is given as to the accuracy of any information contained in this guide and readers should not rely on its accuracy. Readers should obtain their own independent and professional advice in relation to their proposed sporting activity.