AFLW is over for 2019 – The ever-shifting universe and footy trajectories within it.

Over 53,000 people went to the Adelaide Oval Grand Final between Adelaide and Carlton. So many more watched on TVs and listened to radios across the land. A few of us even ventured out and watched at Federation Square. In the wet and cold Sunday lunch time.


So much history being made. So much of the continuation of Erin Phillips brilliance and the Adelaide Crows strength and tenacity. (And her wonderful team mates as well). Of high hopes for Carlton and yet a lack of strength and polish when it came down to game day. Grand Finals can be cruel. In both injuries and in a one-sided game.


There was great sadness when Erin Phillips did her ACL. The Federation Square feed had frozen just moments before, and as we contemplated finding somewhere else to watch, ten minutes later the feed came back with Erin being carted off. Watching many of the players of both teams head to Erin was heart-warming. There is so much that is heart-warming in women’s footy.


(I smiled at Erin’s get stuffed speech days later when she accepted her second Best and Fairest of the AFLW, reminding us of Michelle Payne a few years back.  Women having great success despite, or perhaps because, of the obstacles they have had to face.)


The two-bench mark high attendance games, in Fremantle last year and now in Adelaide for the Grand Final, announces to the world what fans of AFLW and VFLW have known for years.  Women’s footy is huge, loved and with the right care and attention, will continue to grow beyond current expectations.


There are stories I hear on radio that traditionally male clubs in country areas have been rejuvenated on and off the field by the explosion of girls and women’s footy. Clubs on the verge of folding are now able to continue their position of community hubs.


There are now stories daily being reported on such radio stations as SEN. News story about women’s sport. In a greater volume than ever before. And across more sports. There’s a presence now. It feels natural to hear the boys on the radio talking about women’s sports as newsworthy and interesting.


Just this morning, Erin Phillips was one guy’s best news story of the week. They were all comparing what stood out for them on their Saturday morning chat on SEN.


There’s a heap of radio shows covering both seasons of AFLM and AFLW. Our own Kate O’Halloran has had a stellar start in her radio career, to add to her writing and other skills. There are panels and discussions and past and present players being valued for what they can offer as footballers, broadcasters, supporters and benefactors.


Even the fact that the AFL got all proprietary of ‘their’ brand of Tayla Harris shows that the AFLW has become a focus for money and attention around the women’s game, and for better or worse, that’s a sign that their ‘product’ (I cringe at the concept) has a value to them. If they value it, maybe they will treat it with more respect.


And the love and support and changes that seem to have developed around trolls and online behaviour, the thought and discussion and finally change in what is acceptable to post and send and share, all these things, have come out of women’s footy (and more recently with the terrible tragic killings in Christchurch.)


My friend, who I have walked in the leash free area of the park with, for 18 years, commented this week that I don’t seem as engaged with the men’s game as I have in the past. And on reflection, it’s true.  I will watch, and am interested, and I love my Saints boys, but the passion has changed direction and my devotion is on the first VFLW Southern Saints game that will be held at the rejuvenated RSEA Park (or Moorabbin for us oldies). My attention is on the signings for the AFLW Saints team in 2020. My awareness is on the delisting and resigning of the women who have played at other AFLW clubs.  Who can we snag? My ears prick up each time there’s a new Saints AFLW signing.


I’m like the young girls in the stand cheering on their Cat’s women’s players that made its way around on Twitter. That photo captures the young Yvette. The inner Yvette. I feel a loss of the season, the too short season, of the AFLW, but it leaves room for the VFLW and next season.


And some small space for the blokes in red, white and black.


Two wins to start the season is always pleasing.  Now the Saints boys just have to keep it up.




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About Yvette Wroby

Yvette Wroby writes, cartoons, paints through life and gets most pleasure when it's about football, and more specifically the Saints. Believes in following dreams and having a go.


  1. Jarrod_L says

    Great stuff Yvette! Who would have though we’d have 53,034 fans at a game BEFORE the AFLW was even scheduled to start by the AFL (next year was supposed to be the first season)? Lots to like about the season, with plenty of new faves and skills undeniably improved on last year – unfortunately still plenty of annoyances (ACLs, trolls, merchandising, conferences, uuneven player poaching etc).

    Best wishes for all of your clubs – women’s Sharks, men’s Saints and next year women’s Saints too!

  2. Mark Duffett says

    Great to join you in Federation Square, Yvette, albeit too little too late. Hopefully I can organise my transport better next time.

  3. John Butler says

    Yvette, so much is unresolved in regard to where AFLW season will fit in the longer term, but the end of season 3 really did feel like breakthroughs had been made on a number of fronts.

    Enjoy the Sharks. And the Saints.

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