The 2020 AFLW season will start with the blockbuster clash between Richmond and Carlton at Melbourne’s Ikon Park in February.
A double-header featuring the men’s and women’s teams of GWS and Geelong is one of several innovations featured in the 2020 AFLW season fixture schedule.
The Giants will host the Cats at Giants Stadium on Saturday, March 21, with the women up first in the night fixture.
It will be the opening round of the AFL men’s season and round seven of the AFLW campaign that kicks off with Richmond taking on Carlton at Ikon Park on Friday, February 7.
“To have all four teams there (men and women) will be a really great experience,” said AFLW chief Nicole Livingstone, after the fixture list was released on Tuesday.
“It also gives us an opportunity to get to more fans … we saw a lot more AFL fans last season come across to AFLW.
“The feedback from clubs was they would like to see their teams playing on the same day, not only for an opportunity to build their audience but also from a resource and staffing point of view.”
Collingwood’s AFLW team will also battle the Western Bulldogs in Morwell and the inaugural AFLW local derby between Gold Coast and Brisbane at Metricon Stadium takes place on the same day the respective men’s team’s play a pre-season competition match.
Livingstone hinted there could be more double-headers announced when the men’s fixture list is released on Thursday.
Months of tense negotiations over an AFLW collective bargaining agreement ended when details of the new deal were announced on Monday.
With the Tigers one of four new teams added to the competition, the season will expand to eight home-and-away rounds with three weeks of finals, with the grand final to be held on Saturday April 18.
The 2019 season was run across seven rounds with two weeks of finals.
Livingstone reaffirmed the league’s strong position on retaining the contentious two-conference system for 2020 and beyond.
New teams Gold Coast and West Coast were allocated to the same conference as their local rivals Brisbane and Fremantle, with Richmond placed in conference A and St Kilda into conference B.