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Women's All-Stars game a ratings smash

Women's highlights: WB v Melb The best female footballers from around the country clash at the Whitten Oval
AFL CEO Gill McLachlan embraces Bulldogs star Moana Hope - AFLW
AFL CEO Gill McLachlan embraces Bulldogs star Moana Hope

SATURDAY night's All-Stars women's game between the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne delivered bumper television ratings, with an average of 746,000 viewers (metro and regional) tuning in nationally.

The exhibition match, which was broadcast live by Channel Seven, peaked at 1.05 million viewers and won its timeslot across all key demographics in Melbourne, where it averaged 387,000 viewers. 

It was the largest overall average audience in Melbourne of any game during the 2016 home and away season.

The previous best was the St Kilda-Geelong match in round 14, which drew an average audience of 347,000 viewers, while the Essendon-Richmond Dreamtime at the 'G clash in round 10 nabbed an average of 331,000.

The highly entertaining clash showcased the best women's talent ahead of next year's inaugural national women's league. 

Bulldogs forward Moana Hope, who will don the Collingwood guernsey next year, starred with six goals.

WATCH: Six-goal Hope delivers for Dogs

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the higher than expected figures reflected the growing interest in the women's game. 

"These are massive TV numbers, and beyond our expectations. It is thrilling for the AFL and our women players," McLachlan said in a statement on Sunday.

"The 6,365 crowd at Whitten Oval and the TV viewers watched a fast, skilful and ferocious brand of football, and the women provided a great taste of what’s to come when the national league begins in 2017."

The match also took social media by storm with #AFLWomensGame peaking as Twitter's seventh top trend worldwide on Saturday night.