The main aims of the development squad programs is to provide talented players and developing coaches the experience of being involved at a higher level whilst providing them with an insight into their WAFL Club.
Also to give all players the opportunity to be involved in a quality learning environment and have the chance to be viewed playing against their own age group from other districts.
The WAFL 14's and 15's programs begin in August / September culminating in a carnival during the October school holidays. Players, who are residentially bound to a WAFL club are divided into 2 groups and play against other WAFL club squads. i.e. 14 year olds at all clubs are divided into 1 team made up of players who are born from January to June and the other from July to Dec. Approximately 35 players per team (140 overall between 14's and 15's) participate in the carnival. Team only play against the equivalent age group at other clubs
The WAFL 16's Development squad program is an extension of the 15's carnival and is played in March/ April period. Players from the 15's carnival begin an extended program running from December up until the carnival in March/ April. Players are exposed to a WAFL Colts like pre-season program with the main focus on skill development. Each WAFL club has 1 team that participated in the WAFL 16's carnival. This carnival's purpose is to further develop players and to provide an opportunity to select a state 16's squad to compete in the AFL NAB National Championships in July.
The WAFL also has Country development squad carnivals which cater for regional players. Each WAFL District has a country squad which targets the 14 and 15 year olds. There are 4 separate country carnivals that take place throughout the year. In July country squads from East Fremantle, South Fremantle, Claremont and Perth participate in a carnival. West Perth hosts their 3 country squads at the Arena in Joondalup. Subiaco conducts a carnival for their squads in Kalgoorlie/ Esperence while Peel Thunder, Swan Districts and East Perth FC conduct country carnivals for their respective squads in Bunbury each year in August.