Culture

The AFLW Has Overhauled Its Fixture For 2019 And Fans Aren’t Happy

The AFL cooks it again.

AFLW

The AFL has revealed a new structure for the 2019 AFLW competition. And the early reaction from fans has been… less than positive.

We already knew that the 2019 women’s competition would feature two new teams (North Melbourne and Geelong), bringing the total number of sides to ten. Most fans and players had hoped this would mean a nine week home and away season, so that every side would get to play each other once.

Instead, the AFL has opted to keep its current seven round system while splitting the competition into two conferences of five teams. Each team will play the other four teams in their conference, as well as three teams from the rival conference.

On the plus side, the new set up will feature a two week finals series. The top two teams from each conference will qualify to preliminary finals, with the two winners going on to contest the grand final the following week.

But while the introduction of a finals series is a major win for the competition, the fact that the league is unwilling to expand the length of the home and away season to match the growing number of teams has not gone down well with supporters.

In revealing the new competition structure, AFL Head of Women’s Football Nicole Livingstone told AFL.com.au that “whilst I recognise that players would like to play longer, and some sections of the fan base would like [the season] to go longer as well, we also need to recognise that at the moment, they’re part-time athletes.”

“The feedback we get back through the AFLPA (AFL Players Association) and the players themselves is they’re also struggling with things like leave at work, managing time off and the period of the competition,” she added.

AFL.com.au also cited the league’s concerns that expanding the length of the season would run up costs on things like player payments, accommodation and travel. Although given the AFL reported a revenue of $650.6 million last year, that seems like a bit of a crock.

The full 2019 AFLW fixture and the makeup of the conferences will be announced in late October. The season is expected to commence in early February.

Feature image via Wikimedia.