Thursday, January 28 2021 @ 11:28 am ACDT
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
The AFLW returns for it's fifth season after having been cut short by Covid-19 restrictions in 2020.
The AFLW competition has become an elite beacon for women across the world wanting to play Australian football. With the help of CrossCoders Irish players have become the norm at AFLW level and the presence of American Dani Marshall continues to give hope to women outside Australia and those in the closely related Gaelic football code.
Season five of the NAB AFL Women’s Competition marks considerable progress for the women’s game, with many new additions to the fixture this year to boost community connection and engagement. Round 1 kicks off tonight at Ikon Park with Carlton and Collingwood renewing their long running club rivalry.
In a significant step towards being a more inclusive game, Round Two will host the first-ever AFLW Pride Round, championing diversity and ensuring the game is a place of welcome for everyone.
In Round Five, the community will welcome the Inaugural AFLW Indigenous Round, in celebration of the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander players and their contribution to our game, those involved in the women’s competition, and Indigenous communities across the country.
The celebration of Indigenous culture has been acknowledged previously through specially designed AFLW guernseys, and the AFL is now looking forward to the increasing significance of this celebration across a dedicated round in 2021.
Round Nine will host the Toyota ‘Good For Footy’ Round which marks the first joint themed-round across both the men’s and women’s competition, focused on providing support for grassroots clubs around Australia.
The AFL has also introduced ticketing for AFLW matches, which not only showcases the commitment of fans through their support of the game but also allows crowds to attend in a COVID-safe environment. AFLW fans have embraced this with many matches in the opening round achieving record sellouts.
While the progress of women’s football remains a steadfast priority for the AFL and industry, it’s not only for the elite game but at all levels.
In 2014, there were over 194,000 recorded women and girls playing football in Australia. Fast forward to today, there are now over 600,000 female football participants recorded, coming from all walks of life, united by the game they love.