- May 5, 2005
- AFL Club
- Brisbane Lions
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- NYGiants | Leicester City | Blazers
I’ve got an ideaAFLW expansion: AFL expected to lock in 18-team AFLW competiton for 2022-23 season
The AFL is tipped to lock in a full 18-team competition from the 2022-23 season.
The AFL is expected to finally embrace an 18-team AFLW competition for the 2022-23 season when it announces expansion plans at midday on Thursday.
The league has not yet informed those four teams - Essendon, Port Adelaide, Sydney and Hawthorn - that they will be in the competition next year.
But the Herald Sun understands the AFL will make the declaration that every team will have its own women’s side for a 2022-23 competition that will start at the end of next year.
The four teams put in detailed submissions which were assessed by the AFL Commission at its two-day meeting last week.
And while there will be significant concerns about the dilution of talent in coming seasons the reality is the league cannot continue holding out sides like Hawthorn, who have battled for years to gain entry to the AFLW.
If the league can fast-track an 18-team competition it will allow greater opportunities for women footballers across Australia to reach the elite level and eventually grow the talent pool.
This year’s competition will start in December with clubs already worrying about the state of the upcoming season. The official pre-season starts in coming weeks, with some clubs including GWS having a number of players who do not live in the state.
It means they will have to train remotely ahead of the December start, with a fixturing nightmare coming up given many players are part-time and work in other pursuits.
Players on an average of around $18,000-$20,000 will not be able to drop their university or work commitments to spend weeks on the road or submit to long quarantine commitments.
Many AFLW staff and coaches are also part time, with no plans yet for a full-blown vaccination program of the AFLW cohort which might ease concerns.
But by December a more thorough vaccination program of the Australian population might allow greater travel between states and crowds at more AFL venues.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said this year female participation numbers had increased 100 per cent since 20155.
The NAB AFLW Competition has built a new audience base for the code with some 4.5 million AFLW fans, 155,908 attendees, 6.1 million viewers and an incredible 20 per cent of supporters who are new or first-time AFL attendees,” he said.
“But we don’t feel that the competition is whole without all 18 clubs and we know from the clubs that they don’t feel whole now without an AFLW team. AFLW is not just a competition that makes our game better but a culture that makes our whole industry better.”
No current season stats available