AT THE halfway point of the AFLW’s history-making seventh season, it’s clear the competition has reached new heights with a full league of 18 teams competing at a more footy-friendly time on the calendar.

Much like we players do each week, it’s time to review how things are tracking. Although it has been an overwhelmingly positive campaign so far, there are still a few areas that need attention.


The new start date means AFLW players aren’t competing in sweltering heat, nor do we have to compete for viewer attention with traditional summer sports like cricket and tennis.

For the first time in seven years, players will get a break over the Christmas/New Year period.

It also means there is potential to play more games at Marvel Stadium, given not many men’s finals matches are played at the AFL-owned stadium.

Libby Birch, Daisy Pearce and Karen Paxman celebrate after the preliminary final match between Melbourne and Brisbane at the MCG on April 2, 2022. Picture: Michael Willson

It was great to see Essendon and Hawthorn go head-to-head under the Marvel roof in round one, and it would be exciting to see the AFLW grow to the point where there are regular games at Marvel Stadium.

I appreciate there are many factors at play when it comes to scheduling AFLW matches at Marvel: the cost of putting on a game is much higher, and the venue is often booked ahead to hold other events such as the Bledisloe Cup.

But I’ve been lucky enough to play at both Marvel Stadium and the MCG, and it would be wonderful to see more AFLW players get to play at these big inner-city venues.

I know this will continue to be a balancing act for the AFL, but I trust that the AFLW product will eventually pay for itself as the competition continues to evolve.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 02: Mick Stinear, Senior Coach of the Demons addresses his players during the 2022 S7 AFLW Round 02 match between the Melbourne Demons and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 2, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)


The benefit of having a crossover of AFL and AFLW seasons is fan continuity and the potential for further viewership growth across both competitions. We are now moving away from having isolated supporters for either a men’s or a women’s side.

This season, due to the timing, the message has been about supporting your club in both competitions. A clear example of this is if your team bows out of the men’s finals series, such as Melbourne did this year, all hope is not lost as there is still another Demons team to follow, and another premiership to chase.

Additionally, the overlap of the AFL finals series and the AFLW season provided the perfect climate for double-header matches, which naturally allowed for more fans to be exposed to both competitions.

The only hiccup in this area has been where a club’s men’s and women’s sides have had matches scheduled on the same day at different venues, making it hard for fans to attend both matches.

The Collingwood men’s preliminary final was set for the same day as the Magpie women’s round three game against Geelong at Geelong, making it impossible for fans to attend both games.

The same thing happened the following week for Geelong – the men played their preliminary final at the MCG on the Friday night, while Cats’ women played that night in Tasmania.

Fixture clashes during the men's finals were unfortunate, but seemingly unavoidable this year. A rolling fixture might be a solution for future seasons during that crossover period.

Mikala Cann in action during Collingwood's clash against Geelong in round three, S7, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos


Yes, there has been a lot of football in recent weeks. We’ve had the men’s preliminary finals and the Grand Final, the VFL Grand Final and blockbuster AFLW matches. Is it a footy festival or a footy overload?

Last week, leading into the AFL Grand Final, we had two AFLW games on Thursday and four on Friday. I loved the scheduling of games in and around the MCG precinct, which certainly created a carnival atmosphere.

The Virgin Australia Footy Festival in Yarra Park was packed all week and fans were able to stop by and watch the women’s games. The fixturing also considered those attending the Grand Final parade on Friday. The Sydney/Hawthorn AFLW game at Punt Road on Thursday night was a sellout, and it was fantastic to have more Swans fans in Victoria for the weekend.

However, I believe we should steer clear of scheduling women’s matches on AFL Grand Final day. It’s too difficult for an AFLW game to attract attention just hours before the AFL’s biggest event of the year. Grand Final-related TV coverage starts at 7am, and all eyes are firmly on ‘the big dance’. And that’s OK.

My preferred option would be to not try to compete with the Grand Final - just accept it, celebrate it, and schedule all AFLW games for Thursday and Friday, to keep the weekend clear for the Grand Final and all the parties that accompany it. 

Richmond players run onto the field ahead of a match against Brisbane during round five, season seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos


This year, the AFLW's Indigenous Round was celebrated over two weeks (rounds three and four) and was a terrific initiative, enabling each club to don their Indigenous guernseys on their home ground.

It’s a great outcome as in previous years some teams hadn’t been able to wear their specially-designed guernseys during the one-week Indigenous Round due to jumper clashes.

The excitement and joy of Indigenous Round was palpable, and it meant a lot to players to be able to celebrate and revel in the occasion properly over the fortnight.