AFL All-Stars game a fitting finale

The AFL is confident Saturday night’s All-Stars match will prove a fitting finale to a momentous year for the women’s game.

Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs will clash at Whitten Oval in the last major exhibition game before the new women’s league kicks off in February.

“It should be a good celebration … obviously, there’s no AFL football this weekend so the more people that can get to the game, the better,” AFL general manager – game & market development Simon Lethlean said.

“It’s the culmination of a series of exhibition matches for the season, which we expanded this year based on the success of the last few years.

“This game will showcase the best 45 to 50 female footballers in Australia representing the Demons and the Bulldogs.”

Several players will don Melbourne or Bulldogs guernseys for the last time having been signed as marquee players to one of the six other clubs to take part in the inaugural season.

Daisy Pearce will captain Melbourne and Steph Chiocci will skipper the Dogs, who will also feature prolific goalkicker Moana Hope who has signed with Collingwood.

The AFL will trial three new rules designed to speed up the contest – teams will be restricted to 16 players on the field, a smaller ball will be used and the AFL’s strict deliberate out-of-bounds interpretation will be enforced.

Lethlean has been buoyed by the momentum gathered in the lead-up to the first bounce of the new league next year.

“We’re excited by it – it’s not often you get to start a new competition,” he said.

“To have the great media and goodwill that we have right now … it’s really exciting for the industry.”

Admission is free to the All-Stars game that starts at 7.10pm and will be broadcast on the Seven Network.

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