You don’t have to be an AFL fan to be excited about the start, next year, of the new AFL Women’s competition. The success of the Queensland Firebirds netball team and the support it receives show there is big audience potential for elite women’s sport.
The Brisbane Lions have a team in the eight-club inaugural AFL Women’s competition which will run in February and March. There will be six home-and-away rounds with the top four teams playing two semi-finals and a Grand Final. In addition to the Lions there will be teams from Adelaide, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Great Western Sydney, Melbourne and Western Bulldogs.
AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said the number of girls playing football had doubled over the past five years.
“Our CEO Gillon McLachlan calls it a revolution and it is,” Fitzpatrick said.
Most players will be paid $5000 for the season with 16 marquee players getting $25,000. McLachlan said women could command full-time salaries for playing and related football employment in three to five years.
The competition will see teams field 16 players, use a smaller football and play four 15-minute quarters plus time-on.
The AFLs General Manager of Game and Market Development Simon Lethlean said the new rules were the result of extensive research and consultation.
“Independent studies by Deakin University and RMIT helped form the view that the women’s game will be enhanced by reducing the number of players on the field as well as the size of the football,” said Lethlean.
Another element to the AFL Women’s Competition is their logo. Does this logo look familiar to anyone else?