Culture

The AFL Has Just Announced Its First Ever National Women’s League

A landmark moment in Australian sport.

History was made this morning with the official announcement of a nationwide AFL women’s league. In a press conference to deliver the news at the MCG, AFL Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick described this as “a defining moment in the history of Australian Football”.

This announcement follows established teams in the AFL putting forth bids for their place in the inaugural season of the national women’s league. Western Bulldogs and Melbourne were pretty much guarantees, with both teams engaging in exhibition matches since 2013. Here’s the full list of teams granted licenses announced this morning:

Adelaide Crows
Brisbane Lions
Carlton Blues
Collingwood Magpies
Fremantle Dockers
GWS Giants
Melbourne Demons
Western Bulldogs

Yep, fans now have another league in which to hate Collingwood in. St Kilda, West Coast, Geelong, North Melbourne and Richmond all unsuccessfully applied for licences as well, but have been given provisional licences to apply for the league in 2018. The season is set to commence in February, however no official name for the league has been revealed as yet.

“Our game will never be the same,” Fitzpatrick told the media. “This is just the beginning.”

Of course, there’s actually already a great history in women’s footy, going back to the late 1800s and throughout the 20th century.

State leagues have so far been the top level for female footy players, with the national league now providing a more lucrative incentive for budding young stars to commit to becoming dead-set footy champs. Exhibition matches between Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Demons have turned up some ripper moments since 2013, with games broadcast on national TV and online. Melbourne’s Tayla Harris showcased some of the cleanest kicking form the game has ever seen during 2015.

This year saw the inclusion of Western Australian, South Australian and Northern Territory teams in the exhibition matches. However, controversy transpired when the Adelaide Crows blokes’ team warmed up during the women’s match between SA and NT last month. There’s still a way to go for women’s sport in Australia, but today’s announcement marks a vital next step ­– one that will no doubt open doors for a generation to live the dream of taking hangers, going coast to coast, selling the candy, going for the roost, and dishing out ‘don’t argues’ well into the future, much like established guns Daisy Pearce, Steph Chiocci and Mo Hope.

Lead image via AFL NSW/ACT/Twitter.