Chelsea Randall leads Adelaide players out onto the field ahead of the R2 clash against Richmond at Ikon Park on September 8, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

THERE have been three changes to the finalists from last season, meaning a whole new wave of AFLW players will be experiencing finals for the first time.

Richmond (10th in 2023), Collingwood (11th) and the Western Bulldogs (18th) have been replaced by Essendon, Sydney and Gold Coast.

Unsurprisingly, the most experienced finals sides are the "big three" – Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane – who have won five of the six previous AFLW Grand Finals (no decider in 2020).

Perennial finalist North Melbourne rounds out the top four, and from there, there's a sharp drop in experience.


Average No. finals played







North Melbourne








Gold Coast


The figure measures across the entire squad of 30 – inactive players aren't included, but injured and currently unselected players are in the mix.

It's the first finals series for Sydney's AFLW side, and while the Swans' average number is significantly boosted by Chloe Molloy's six finals, they have actually had a wider range of players feature in at least one final than the 0.6 figure suggests.

Laura Gardiner (Geelong), Brooke Lochland (Western Bulldogs), Lucy McEvoy (Carlton), Aliesha Newman (Melbourne and Collingwood), Bec Privitelli (GWS), Bella Smith (Collingwood), Lisa Steane (GWS) and Brenna Tarrant (Melbourne) have all seen finals action elsewhere.

In fact, Lochland's sole finals match was the Dogs' 2018 Grand Final win, with that early season of AFLW not having a finals series.

Brooke Lochland (L) and Ellie Blackburn celebrate after the AFLW Grand Final between Western Bulldogs and Brisbane at Ikon Park on March 24, 2018. Picture: AFL Photos

Gold Coast will be playing its second ever final, previously featuring in one thumping elimination at the hands of Fremantle in 2020 before the season was cancelled in the early days of COVID-19.

Only a small handful of players remain from that team – Lauren AhrensLauren BellaKalinda Howarth (injured) and Jamie Stanton – while Maddy Brancatisano (Richmond), Jordan Membrey (Brisbane and Collingwood) and Vivien Saad (North Melbourne) have played finals at other clubs.

Membrey actually featured in the very first Grand Final in 2017, playing for the Lions.