Rachelle Martin and Chelsea Randall celebrate Adelaide's win over Melbourne in AFLW round six, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

A PAIR of surprise AFLW results in round six has set the stage for a thrilling finish to the $1 million race for the revamped McClelland Trophy.

Undefeated reigning premier Melbourne looked the likely winner ahead of round six but its loss to Adelaide at Casey Fields on Saturday has opened the door for rivals to seize the trophy.

Similarly, Collingwood has shot into contention with its stunning win over Brisbane that leaves the Pies just one win behind the Demons.


Melbourne (104 points) is now just four points clear of Brisbane (100) in second, with Collingwood (96) and Adelaide (92) both within striking distance.


The McClelland Trophy was relaunched this year to include AFLW, with $1 million in prizemoney up for grabs to be shared between the club and all its players.

Four points are awarded for AFL wins and two for AFL draws, while eight points are granted for AFLW wins and four for AFLW draws, given the fact the AFLW season runs for only 10 rounds.

The round 10 clash between Brisbane and Melbourne still looms as the most likely decider for the $1 million prize, but there are some key games in coming rounds that will shape the race.

Blaithin Mackin breaks away from Dakota Davidson in the S7 Grand Final between Brisbane and Melbourne at Brighton Homes Arena. Picture: AFL Photos

Round seven

The Lions will be keen to beat Gold Coast in Saturday night's QClash, while Collingwood faces a potentially difficult game against Carlton on Sunday afternoon. The Blues are fifth on the McClelland Trophy ladder and remain a mathematical chance of claiming the honour ahead of this weekend's games.

Melbourne (v West Coast, away) and Adelaide (v Western Bulldogs, home) both face winnable fixtures this weekend.

Round eight 

Brisbane and Adelaide face off in a crucial game at Brighton Homes Arena. The Crows could feasibly jump into second with a win, while a loss would all but rule them out of claiming the trophy.

The Demons have a pivotal clash with North Melbourne at Ikon Park. While the Roos can't win the McClelland Trophy after a poor season from their men's team, they can play spoiler by knocking off the premiers.

Jasmine Garner is tackled by Sinead Goldrick during North Melbourne's clash with Melbourne in the 2022 AFLW preliminary final. Picture: AFL Photos

Round nine

The Kangaroos travel to Adelaide to take on the Crows in another game oozing with consequences. The Crows just have to keep on winning and hope the Demons and Lions stumble.

Melbourne (v Walyalup, home) and Brisbane (v St Kilda, away) will both enter their fixtures as favourites but as round six showed, anything is possible on the day.

Round 10

The Lions host the Demons at Brighton Homes Arena in the game that has long loomed as the decider for the McClelland Trophy.

But if Brisbane and Melbourne both get the staggers in the run home, the Crows have a winnable fixture against West Coast in Perth that would put them in the box seat to claim the riches on offer.

AFL CEO Andrew Dillon said the revamped competition was set for a "really exciting" finish. 

“With some of results that we saw on the weekend with Adelaide getting up over Melbourne, because Melbourne looked like they were going to be at the clear favourites to win the McClelland, but them losing and then Collingwood getting up over Brisbane has really opened it up.

"The next four rounds will be really exciting for the McClelland trophy. It’s going to be great for an all-of-club result where the men and the women share equally in the prize money.

“It's a great initiative and I'm really looking forward to see how the games play out over the next four weeks.”

Whichever way the race for the $1 million prize shakes out, it's going to be worth watching over the final months of the AFLW regular season.