Nine-a-side footy a newcomer on social sport scene

AUSSIE RULES: Fun, fast and in the sun.

AFL 9s has taken off as an accessible, social and inclusive format of the national game.

Airlie Beach, this year, will play host to its first event - the McDonald's Airlie Beach AFL 9s Invitational.

AFLQ regional manager for Mackay Jeff Neumann said there had been good interest in the event already.

"It is a unique event combining the speed and excitement of AFL 9s with one of Australia's most iconic beachside destinations, Airlie Beach," he said.

"(AFL 9s) is played on a smaller, modified field about 90m long and you can go anywhere you like on the field but only forwards can score, and you have three of those.

The event is at Whitsunday Sports Park on Saturday, October 17.

The sport is essentially Aussie Rules' answer to the popular social sports such as touch football and indoor soccer and netball. Touch Football has become so popular that the NRL encompasses it and Mackay sent many athletes to this year's World Cup.

"It's basically touch or tag footy with nine on the field. It's pretty fast-paced footy and a lot of fun," Neumann said.

"When tagged you have two seconds to get rid of the footy or it's a turn over. If the ball hits the ground it's a turnover, too.

"It's played on a rectangular ground so it can be played anywhere."

The day begins at 10am and teams can register at or phone the AFLQ Mackay office on 4951 0622.

AFL 9s

Airlie Beach Invitational

 Saturday, October 17 at Whitsunday Sports Park

 Men's and women's divisions

 $2000 winner's prize