Girls (and Boys) of Summer
We’ve hit the middle of summer. Footy fans far and wide have just over two months of waiting to go until the ball is bounced to kick off the 2017 Premiership season. Every single day between then and now would have been cruel torture for the footy addict, but the inaugural AFL Women’s competition beginning early February (aided very slightly by the annual male pre-season) makes this summer a whole different story.
The AFL’s newest brainchild has sparked a huge wave of excitement and anticipation across Australia, after a few years of exhibition matches. The competition begins on February 3rd, with Carlton playing Collingwood at Olympic Park. The season spans seven rounds, with each of the eight teams playing each other once. No finals series will occur, with the Grand Final consisting of the two top teams taking place on the 25th of March at a yet-to-be-determined venue.
For those unfamiliar with other details of women’s football, here are a few key pointers:
- The game will consist of 15 minute quarters, plus time on.
- 22 players a side – 16 on the ground, six on the bench.
- The games will be played each week over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, or just over the weekend.
- There will be games played at night and even starting as early as 10:05 AM.
- Six games of AFL Women’s will be double-headers with the AFL pre-season competition.
- The football used will be size four, compared to the men’s size five.
- Each team consists of two “marquee” players. Stand-outs include Collingwood’s Moanna Hope, Melbourne’s Daisy Pearce, Brisbane’s Tayla Harris and the Western Bulldogs’ Katie Brennan.
- The jerseys worn for game differ from the men’s competition. See here for images.
- The teams were finalised last October in the AFL Women’s Draft.
- The eight teams are the Adelaide Crows, Brisbane Lions, Carlton Blues, Collingwood Magpies, Fremantle Dockers, Greater Western Sydney Giants, Melbourne Demons and Western Bulldogs.
- Every game will be broadcast by Fox Footy, while one game every round will be broadcast on Channel Seven, plus the Grand Final.
- During the regular season, common AFL grounds such as the MCG, Eitihad Stadium, the Gabba, Spotless Stadium, Adelaide Oval and the SCG will not host a game.
Just before Round Three of the AFL Women’s, the AFL’s male teams kick off their annual pre-season competition, on the 16th of February.
This year’s summer odyssey will be almost identical to 2016’s program, with each team will make a few visits to non-AFL grounds – such as Ikon Park, Bendigo’s Queen Elizabeth Oval and Adelaide’s Richmond Oval – before playing a single game at an AFL venue. Similar to the AFL Women’s, grounds such as the MCG, Adelaide Oval, the SCG and the Gabba will not see any action. Unlike previous years, the men will take a backseat in the football world as footy fans far and wide will be glued to the first ever AFL Women’s competition.
Here are some key points.
- The series will go for about four weeks, with each club playing three games.
- Each game will be telecast on Fox Footy, with Channel Seven dedicated to AFL Women’s.
- The games will be played each week for four weeks on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
- Only seven games will be played after 7:00 PM local time.
- The competition will end on the 12th of March, at the end of Round Six of AFL Women’s.
- The fixture includes games at Arden Street, Princes Park and Whitten Oval.
- There will be no Grand Final.
- Club members will be admitted free.
Summer footy in 2017 will be a very different beast to its predecessors, thanks purely to the inception of AFL Women’s. Let’s hope this exciting new development welcomes a new wave of football fans into the fold.