Biological Maturation

Biological Maturation

As part of Northern NSW Football’s competitions policy, players that develop at a different rate from a physical perspective due to later biological maturity may be eligible to play in a lower age-group.

Although players may be similar in terms of chronological age, their biological age can vary substantially due to the timing of their adolescent growth spurt. Biological maturation testing allows players to develop their skills on a level playing field against an opposition more suited to their height, weight, speed and strength.

To identify those who may be eligible players, Northern NSW Football has worked with Football NSW and Dr Ric Lovell (PhD) to develop a two-step process.


The below age groups/playing categories will have the Biological Maturation principle apply for the 2024 season:

  • Junior Development Leagues (JDL) (12s)
  • PYL NNSW (13s, 14s, 15s, 16s)
  • PYLW (13s, 15s)
  • HIT 106.9 Northern League One (13s, 14s, 15s)

With the introduction of the Premier Youth League in 2023, and bringing Under 18s back into the youth fold, clubs will now be permitted to apply for an exemption for players turning 17 in 2024 to play in the under 16s.

Please note only players turning 17 in 2024 are permitted to apply, and that this change only applies to the under 16s. Exemptions will not be considered for players turning 19 to play in the under 18s.

Using the below video tutorials, all players are required to do a self-assessment and record their results when registering for a formal assessment.

Are you eligible?

The assessment conducted by NNSWF will provide two results: the estimated age at peak height velocity (APHV) and the maturation category which will be classed as either early, on-time or late developer.

The age at APHV is an estimate of when the player did or is predicted to go through the most intensive phase of the adolescent growth spurt. Some players will have already been through the growth spurt, whereas some others are yet to do so.

To categorise their maturation status, the APHV is cross-referenced with normative data for boys and girls. The age criteria used to categorise biological maturation is as follows:

APHV <13.5 = early
APHV 13.5-14.5 = on-time
APHV >14.5 = late

APHV <11.5 = early
APHV 11.5-12.5 = on-time
APHV >12.5 = late

If the player is officially confirmed as a late-developer during the assessment with NNSWF, the player has the option to register in a lower-age group. However, we recommend that before a decision is made that the technical directors, coaches, players and parents consider carefully the implications of competing at a lower age category.

Biomaturation Assessments

Assessing a player’s biological maturation is a two-step process. Players firstly are to submit their measurements where the player is assessed on their eligibility. *Please refer to the below videos for assistance when completing the online pre-assessment form.

Once the players measurements are received and, they will be calculated and if a player is found in this pre-assessment to be potentially a late developer (or borderline), the player will need to be formally assessed by an accredited assessor at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility. We will hold these assessments on a specific date before the season commences, most likely in either November or December, and then again in early 2024.


Video Tutorials

The three short video tutorials shown below will assist you on how to conduct these measurements correctly, which are necessary to estimate the player’s biological maturation category. Accurate measurements of the player’s height, weight and their sitting height are required, in addition to the player’s date of birth, gender and the date in which the measurements are collected.

Thank you to Football NSW and Ric Lovell (PhD) Associate Professor (Sport and Exercise) Western Sydney University for allowing NNSWF to utilise these demonstrative videos.