Launched in 2016, the women’s AFL league is an eight-team competition for Australia’s elite female Aussie rules players. The inaugural season will begin on Friday, February 3, 2017.
The competition will be played over seven four-game rounds, with the top two teams after the home and away season contesting the grand final on Saturday, March 25.
There were a number of submissions to earn an AFL Women’s license, with the Adelaide Crows, Brisbane Lions, Carlton Blues, Collingwood Magpies, Fremantle Dockers, GWS Giants, Melbourne Demons and Western Bulldogs announced as the teams on June 15, 2016.
The Geelong Cats, North Melbourne Kangaroos, Richmond Tigers, St Kilda Saints and West Coast Eagles were all granted provisional licenses, with a mind to introducing new teams in the future, possibly as early as the 2018 season.
How to watch the AFL Women’s League
In the announcement of the AFL Women’s draw, it was revealed that Fox Footy would show every regular-season fixture on pay TV. To catch the action, footy fans will need a Foxtel subscription complete with the sports package, which will set you back $51 per month. If you want to catch the action in high definition, that will cost you an extra $10 per month.
For footy fans without a Foxtel sports subscription, one game each week will be shown live by Channel Seven, and the free-to-air broadcaster will show two matches in the opening round.
The AFL Women’s grand final will only be shown on free-to-air TV, with Fox Footy not having the rights to the season-deciding match. Seven will be the free-to-air broadcaster for the final game of the season.
Foxtel subscribers can watch Fox Footy’s AFL Women’s coverage online through the Foxtel Go service, which is included in the subscription. If you want to catch Fox Footy’s coverage without a pay TV subscription, you can get on Foxtel Play, although this will not include the Women’s AFL grand final.
A subscription to Foxtel Play, complete with the sports package, will cost you a minimum of $35 per month, although the cost of the sports package is due to rise by $4 per month starting on February 1.
A live stream of every match will also be available through the AFL Live app, which can be downloaded for Apple, Android and Windows phones, as well as on AFL.com.au.
This will, however, require an AFL Live Pass subsciption, for which there are three options: a weekly pass, costing $4.99 per week, a monthly pass, costing $14.99 per month, or an annual pass which, at $89.99 for the year, represents the best value of all three options.
The Live Pass will also get you access to every men’s AFL game throughout the year, including the grand final.
There are a number of different rules for the women’s competition in comparison to the men’s. A smaller-sized Sherrin will be used as the game ball, while the women’s games will be played over four 15-minute quarters, rather than the 20-minute quarters seen in the AFL.
The main difference, however, is the number of players on the field. Women’s teams will feature 16 players on the field and six on the bench. The men’s competition also has 22-player match day squads, but instead has 18 players from one team on the field at any one time, with just four reserves.