Yarra Junior Football League
FormerlyDoncaster & Districts Junior Football League + Hawthorn Districts Junior Football League
SportAustralian rules football
Founded1997
CEOTim Murray
PresidentJeff Hooper
No. of teams30
Country Australia
Venue(s)AFL Victoria
Sponsor(s)Hiredepot, VRGF, TAC, Collingwood FC
Official website[1]

The Yarra Junior Football League (YJFL) is the largest junior Australian rules football league in Australia.[1][2][3] The league has a total of 30 clubs, who are based around northern, eastern and north-eastern Melbourne.[4] There is a total of 66 divisions throughout the league.[5]

History

The Yarra Junior Football League was first formed through the merging of the old Doncaster & Districts and the Hawthorn Districts Junior Football Leagues in 1997.[6] The league began with a total of 4628 registered players. They were spread out between 180 teams and 25 foundation clubs.[7] Since then, the number of players is over double the original number, with 10,614 players participating in 2019. It has also grown to 508 teams between 30 clubs, as per data gathered in 2019.[8]

In 2000, the Heidelberg Tigers moved into the YJFL after a major club reform. Over the next ten years, 5 teams joined the league, those teams being the Preston Bullants in 2001, the North Brunswick Giants in 2005 (at that time known as the 'Bulls'), the Parkside Devils and certain divisions from the Ashburton Redbacks in 2006, the Boroondara Hawks and the rest of the divisions from the Ashburton Redbacks in 2008, and the Brunswick Dragons in 2010.

In 2011, the first Youth Girls divisions were launched, with some teams given the support of the AFL.[9]

In 2015 and 2016, the league witnessed spikes in growth after they introduced an Under 8s competition and the new South Yarra Junior Football Club.

In January 2020, the presidents from the former Greythorn Falcons and Balwyn Tigers decided to merge their clubs into the Balwyn Greythorn Jets Junior Football Club, to create a more powerful club, as they were already located very close together.[10]

Clubs

Current

Club Colours Moniker Est. Joined
YJFL
Aquinas
Bloods 2013 2015
Ashburton
Redbacks 1971 2006
Balwyn
Tigers 2023 2024
Banyule
Bears 1967 1997
Beverley Hills
Lions 1967 1997
Brunswick
Dragons 2008 2010
Bulleen Templestowe
Bullants 1990 1997
Camberwell
Sharks 1997 1997
Canterbury
Cobras 1997 1997
Doncaster
Cats 1968 1997
Fitzroy
Lions 1993 1997
Glen Iris
Gladiators 1987 1997
Hawthorn Citizens
Citz 1992 1997
Heidelberg
Tigers 2000 2000
Ivanhoe
Hoes 1966 1997
Kew
Comets 1971 1997
Kew Rovers
Rovers 1971 1997
Macleod
Eagles 1968 1997
Northcote
Cougars 1962 2020
North Brunswick
Giants 2005 2005
Parade St Damians
Saints 1979 1997
Park Orchards
North Ringwood Parish
Sharks 1991 1997
Parkside
Devils 2005 2006
Preston
Bullants 2000 2001
Richmond
Tigers 1973 1997
St Marys Greensborough
Burras 1973 1997
Surrey Park
Panthers 1994 1997
Templestowe
Dockers 1969 1997
Warrandyte
Bloods 1975 1997
Whitehorse
Colts 1997 1997

Former

Club Colours Moniker Est. Joined
YJFL
Final
season
Current status
Balwyn
Tigers 2001 2020 Merged
2020 with Greythorn
Balwyn-Greythorn
Jets 2019 2020 2023 Merged
2023 with Boroondara
Boroondara
Hawks 2008 2008 2023 Merged
2023 with Balwyn-Greythorn
Bundoora
Bulls 1961 1997 2022 Folded
2023
Greythorn
Falcons 2001 2020 Merged
2020 with Balwayn
Montmorency
Magpies 1968 1997 2022 NFNL
South Yarra
Lions 2015 2016 2021 Folded
2022

Girls Football

Beginnings

The first girls division was introduced in the 2011 season as a 'Youth Girls' (under 18) division, which had a total of 10 teams participating.[11] This division also included teams from other leagues that did not have any girls-only divisions.

In 2012 a girls under 12 division was formed, with 5 clubs fielding teams in the division. The 'Youth Girls' division grew to a total of 12 teams, up two from the year before.[12] One year later, an under 14 girls division was formed to help bridge the gap between the Youth Girls and under 12 girls divisions. It had a total of 4 teams participating in its first year.[13] The number of teams in these divisions nearly doubled in 2014, rising from 17 to 31.[14]

Present

After only 10 teams in the first year of female-only teams in the Yarra Junior Football League, the total spiked to 122 female-only teams in 2019. There were 2810 female players in the league in 2019, which meant that female-players made up just over a quarter of all players in the league.[15] There are now eight female divisions: Under 10 Girls, Under 11 Girls, Under 12 Girls, Under 13 Girls, Under 14 Girls, Under 15 Girls, Under 16 Girls and the Youth Girls.[16]

Community

North East Link Controversy

The Yarra Junior Football League community rallied against the controversial North East Link project, due to the removal of their headquarters, which was in the path of the proposed road.[17] The North East Link Authority proposed a new headquarters location at Ford Park, Ivanhoe, but met resistance from the league due to worries that Ford Park is too far away for many teams in the league.

Partnership with Collingwood

In early July 2020, it was announced that the Collingwood Football Club would enter a 'Major Community Partnership' with the Yarra Junior Football League. This partnership was formed as a part of an initiative to support grassroots football. Six main projects were announced as part of the partnership, including junior development programs to encourage participation in junior football, sport medical programs and research, fundraising events to raise money, support for talent pathways for junior players through to the elite levels, female football development programs and the development of projects to expand community facilities.[18]

AFL Talent

The Yarra Junior Football League has been home to many players who went on to play in the AFL.[19] Players who played in the Yarra Junior Football League who made it to the AFL are listed by club below:

Adelaide Football Club

Brisbane Lions Football Club

Carlton Football Club

Collingwood Football Club

Essendon Football Club

Gold Coast Football Club

Greater Western Sydney Football Club

Hawthorn Football Club

Melbourne Football Club

North Melbourne Football Club

Port Adelaide Football Club

Richmond Football Club

St Kilda Football Club

Sydney Swans Football Club

West Coast Football Club

Western Bulldogs Football Club

References

  1. ^ "Yarra Junior Football League confirms 2020 season start". Herald Sun. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  2. ^ Colangelo, Anthony (27 May 2020). "Australia's biggest junior footy competition to resume in mid-July". The Age. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  3. ^ "To infinity and beyond…". Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  4. ^ "YJFL Member Clubs". Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Fixtures YJFL". Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Yarra Junior Football League - About". Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  7. ^ "YJFL Annual Report 2016" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  8. ^ "YJFL Annual Report 2019" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  9. ^ Kennedy, Joel (24 May 2011). "Colts at gallop". Herald Sun. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  10. ^ "Message From The Presidents - Balwyn and Greythorn" (PDF). Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  11. ^ "Annual YJFL Report 2011" (PDF). Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  12. ^ "2012 YJFL Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  13. ^ "YJFL Annual Report 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  14. ^ "2014 YJFL Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  15. ^ "YJFL Annual Report 2019" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  16. ^ "YJFL Girls Football- About". Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  17. ^ Colangelo, Anthony (30 October 2019). "Premier asked to step in to end footy league's North East Link dispute". The Age. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  18. ^ "Magpies support grassroots football". CollingwoodFC Media. 2 July 2020. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  19. ^ "YJFL Current AFL Players 2020". Retrieved 3 July 2020.