9-a-side games are sometimes played on half size fields that are typically rectangular or more commonly rugby fields, with 9 players on the field at any one time, typically consisting of 3 forwards, 3 backs and 3 centre players. Often two games are played at the same time on a single Australian Rules or cricket pitch. Other times, 9-a-side makes use of the full space of the field when a full complement of players is not available. This variety is a more open, running variety of Australian rules.
- Up to 9 players on each team, with 3 players each designated as forwards, centres and backs
- After each goal the players must be in their respective third of the pitch but may rove freely after the ball-up
- Goals and behinds may only be scored from within the forward zone
- Players may bounce the ball only once before disposing of it
- If the ball goes out of play (whether on the full or not) the nearest opponent shall kick the ball back into play
All other rules remain unchanged.
Australians Rules football has struggled to develop outside of Australia partly because the game is highly resource intensive. A game requires the use of a large cricket oval, many players (40 including interchanges) and several officials. The adaptation of the game to rugby fields requires far fewer players and a pitch that is more readily available, and as a result, many more people are being introduced to the game outside of Australia.
9-a-side leagues and tournaments
Examples of official tournaments held under these rules include:
- The EU Cup
- Bali Nines
- Aussie Rules UK National League
- Aussie Rules UK Definition of rules for use in UK league
- Rec Footy, sanctioned by the Australian Football League is the non-contact game.
- Touch Aussie Rules, sanctioned by Aussie Rules UK is the non-contact game played in the UK.
- Metro Footy is a 9-a-side game played on gridiron fields in the United States.