AFL unveils eight-team women’s league

The AFL has settled on an eight-team competition for the national women’s league’s inaugural season next year.

Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs were the successful bidders, with 13 AFL clubs submitting for licences.

Geelong, Port Adelaide, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast will have provisional licences and could join the league as early as 2018.

Interest in the women’s league has skyrocketed – after an initial plan to have six teams, there was speculation the first season might have as many as 10.

“Our game is on the cusp of changing forever and changing for the better,” AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said at Wednesday’s MCG announcement.

“The concept of a national competition has been put together in short space of time but this day has been a long time coming.

“The number of women and girls playing club football has doubled over the past five years.”

Fitzpatrick added 163 new women’s teams had formed last year, with another 250 expected this year.

It is understood the first season will start next February and involve six games per team, with a four-team finals series.

The AFL was briefing the eight clubs on Wednesday afternoon about the details of the league.

Another media announcement was to follow with more details of how the women’s league will work.

Melbourne captain Daisy Pearce, who will be the most prominent player in the inaugural league, said it was a banner day for women.

“We’ve seen on so many issues that sport is a powerful vehicle,” she said.

“To see women out there playing a really physical sport, at our most powerful, will (encourage change) across all of society.”

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