FEARLESS 2021: The AFLW just keeps getting better


Having attended the first AFLW game at Optus/Princes/Ikon a few years ago, I was struck immediately with the popularity. Cynics may say it was free. Unfair! Moreso, it was a chance for the AFL to grow the game organically by creating the competition for the girls to play. Genius. Free attendances ultimately helped keep crowd numbers up. Although the admission price was inevitable, the standard of the game has improved each year. The quality of the players now seen as coming through from Auskick years and the drafting of non-footy athletes is standing out more and more. The cross-coders now look more visible as the standard improves. However, the 14 teams might just be the limit for now. 4 AFL teams don’t have AFLW teams. The call goes for out for equality and that is understandable but I’m sure the AFL will dictate when those 4 teams enter.



As a viewer, the standard and skills on display definitely seem to be getting better. This in turn creates the desire for young girls to want to play. Growth achieved and potential for growth also achieved.



My suggestion is that maybe the AFLW Medal be named after Erin Phillips as she epitomises the journey of women’s football as well as the capacity of the elite. Erin, as most know, had to play basketball after having to quit playing footy, the game she loved to play. To be able to return to footy after a stellar basketball career, both here and in the US as well as at Olympic level, is indicative of the pathway in the development of the AFLW.



Long may there be more great players. Women’s footy has everything that people love about the game. Unfortunately, people fall for the trap of comparing it to the men’s competition.



Maybe it’s better to compare it to the previous women’s competitions that were the standard, namely the VFLW and other state leagues. That definitely is the arc of improvement. Comparing the women’s game to the men’s game is an argument that will never do the women’s game any good. The AFLW continues to grow at a steady pace and the girls are very good to elite and always getting better. For this to be an opportunity for the girls to play at the highest level is fantastic and we must never lose sight of that.



Cheers PT



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  1. It’s a similar story in the NRLW, Fearless. Great footy, great athletes, great spirit, very little ego and ‘let’s get into it’ approach.

    Only four teams in the NRLW at this stage but, hopefully, expansion of the number of teams and the length of the season is not too far away.

    The women’s State of Origin match in 2020 was as good as anything I saw last year. (It helped that Queensland won.) Already have a ticket for this year’s game next month.

  2. Daryl Schramm says

    “Long may there be more great players”. Hear hear.
    The AFLW have lead the way in many areas. Good article.

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