THE VFLW competition will take on a new look in 2024 with New South Wales-based clubs the GWS Giants and Sydney Swans to both participate in part of the season.

The Giants and Swans will each play five games against AFLW-aligned clubs from Rounds 3-7. This will provide an opportunity for their lists to play competitive football heading into the AFLW season, while also strengthening the VFLW competition by allowing more AFLW-listed players to compete.

GWS has been fixtured to meet Carlton and the Richmond-aligned Port Melbourne in Victoria, plus hosting Southern Saints, Geelong and Essendon. Meanwhile, Sydney will play Western Bulldogs and Box Hill Hawks in Melbourne as well as home games against North Melbourne, Casey Demons and Collingwood.

Premiership points and percentage will apply for all matches involving the Giants and Swans, with the 12 full-time VFLW members clubs to each play 14 matches, with the top-six to compete in the finals.

The 2024 VFLW season will see more double-headers with VFL matches. A total of 39 double-headers have been scheduled across the 89-game fixture.

The season kicks off under the Friday night lights at Moorabbin’s RSEA Park on March 22 when Southern Saints take on Collingwood as the second game of a Saints/Sandringham vs. Collingwood double header.

Round 2 includes the 2023 Grand Final rematch, with Port Melbourne to host Collingwood at ETU Stadium on Good Friday, kickstarting an Easter weekend featuring five VFLW-VFL double headers.

The Giants and Swans make their VFLW debuts in Round 3 when the competition takes centre stage in Melbourne on a weekend where there are no AFL or VFL games being played in Victoria due to the AFL’s Gather Round and the VFL vs SANFL representative game.

Both NSW clubs will take VFLW footy to Sydney for the first time in Round 4 when the Swans host North Melbourne and the Giants entertain the Saints.

The season opener isn’t the only VFLW game under lights, with Port Melbourne hosting two Friday night double headers when the women kick off proceedings at 5.05pm in Round 8 (Western Bulldogs) and Round 12 (North Melbourne) at ETU Stadium.

Country footy is on the agenda again this year with Geelong to meet Darebin in Colac in Round 4 and the Box Hill Hawks’ push to build ties with Gippsland returning when they take on Southern Saints at Wonthaggi in Round 8.

Fixture rating system

The rating system used to analyse each club’s 2024 fixture assessed a trip to reigning premier Port Melbourne as the hardest match and a home game against the ungraded interstate clubs the easiest – with double points for those interstate trips.

The points system used to create the difficulty score awarded one point per 2023 ladder position to teams playing interstate; two to teams playing away or at a neutral venue against teams from their own state; three to clubs playing at home against same state opposition or at a neutral venue against an interstate opponent; and four to teams hosting an interstate opponent on their home ground.

A “single-figure” fixture, as mentioned several times below, is a match that attracted less than 10 points under this scale.

The club with the lowest points tally was assessed as having the most difficult fixture.

Carlton has ended up with nominally the friendliest fixture this year. The Blues have double-ups against non-finalists Darebin and Geelong and a home game against GWS providing an equal league-high seven matches rated as 20 points or more.

Darebin looks to have the most challenging fixture, with double-ups against finalists Carlton, Collingwood and Williamstown.

Here is a full analysis of the fixture for your club:

Last Season: 6th (8-5-2)
Coach: Michael Ericson (1st season, replacing Cherie O’Neill)

Fixture: Cas (A), Gee (A), Col (H), Wil (H), NM (H), Syd (H), WB (A), SS (N), Dar (H), Car (A), Ess (A), Gee (H), NM (A), PM (A)
Plays Twice: Geelong, North Melbourne
VFL Double Headers: 9
Interstate Trips: 0
Summary: An interesting fixture, with two tough away matches to start followed by four in a row at Box Hill City Oval. Hawks fans will love the eight double headers, including six of the seven games at home, while the only two return matches are against teams who didn’t make the finals last year. They don’t play the reigning premier until the last game, one of two trips to finish the season, and they are lucky enough to draw a home game against guest team Sydney rather than having to fly north. Four “single-figure” games, with three of those coming in the last five weeks.
Difficulty Score: 266 (ranked 11th)

Last Season: 4th (9-7)
Coach: Glenn Strachan (1st season, replacing Tom Stafford)

Fixture: Gee (A), NM (A), GWS (H), Col (A), PM (H), WB (A), Gee (H), Dar (A), Wil (A), Box (H), Cas (H), Ess (A), SS (H), Dar (H)
Plays Twice: Darebin, Geelong
VFL Double Headers: 6
Interstate Trips: 0
Summary: After breaking through for a maiden finals appearance in 2023, the Blues have nominally the easiest fixture this year. Neither of the Blues’ double-ups made the finals and neighbour Darebin is on a long unsuccessful run. Three of their seven trips will be out of the way in the first four weeks, split by a home game against guest team GWS. Can build momentum with four of their last five at home. Three “single-figure” games, two of them back-to-back against the Grand Finalists in Rounds 4-5.
Difficulty Score: 284 (ranked 12th)

Last Season: 10th (6-8)
Coach: Matt Brewer (1st season, replacing Peter Mercoulia)

Fixture: Box (H), WB (H), NM (A), PM (H), Syd (A), SS (A), Wil (H), Ess (A), Gee (H), Dar (A), Car (A), Col (H), WB (A), SS (H)
Plays Twice: Southern Saints, Western Bulldogs
VFL Double Headers: 9
Interstate Trips: 1
Summary: After a disappointing 2023, the Demons have a chance to get the season off to a strong start with three home games in the first four weeks, before the unknown of an interstate trip to face guest team Sydney. Their double-ups are against non-finalists, although the Saints did play in the 2022 Grand Final. Fans will be happy with five of their home matches being aligned with the VFL team. The fixture slots into the same difficulty ranking as last year – including four “single-figure” games – so they will be wanting to bank those early wins.
Difficulty Score: 225 (ranked 3rd)

Last Season: 2nd (11-6)
Coach: Tom Cashin (1st season, replacing Chloe McMillan)

Fixture: SS (A), PM (A), Box (A), Car (H), Dar (A), Ess (H), Syd (A), Gee (A), WB (H), NM (H), SS (H), Cas (A), Dar (H*), Wil (H)
Plays Twice: Darebin, Southern Saints
VFL Double Headers: 5
Interstate Trips: 1
Summary: Last year’s runners up won’t be seen on home soil until they meet arch-rival Carlton in Round 4, with three challenging away games to kick things off, including the Grand Final rematch against Port Melbourne in Round 2. In fact, the Magpies play six of their first eight on the road, so will be wanting to get through that before they get their trade off with five of the last six at home. Their double-ups include 2022 Grand Finalist Southern Saints and 2023 wooden spooner Darebin, although the Magpies will play their Round 13 ‘home’ game against the Falcons at Genis Steel Oval. Meanwhile, there are only two “single-figure” fixtures – including the Port showdown.
Difficulty Score: 242 (ranked 8th)

Last Season: 12th (0-14)
Coach: Lachlan Walker (1st season, replacing Kate Tyndall)

Fixture: Wil (H), SS (H*), Ess (A), Gee (N), Col (H), Wil (A), PM (H), Car (H), Box (A), Cas (H), NM (A), WB (H), Col (A*), Car (A)
Plays Twice: Carlton, Collingwood, Williamstown
VFL Double Headers: 3
Interstate Trips: 0
Summary: Not the fixture Falcons fans would have been hoping for as they aim to break a 21-match losing streak. They look to have copped the hardest schedule, with double-ups against three finalists including runners-up Collingwood and five “single-figure” matches overall. Two early games against fellow standalone Williamstown are split by four consecutive games against five of the six Grand Finalists post Covid (the Magpies qualified twice), followed by the premiers and two more finalists straight after. Three games against non-finalists from Rounds 10-12 could provide respite.
Difficulty Score: 199 (ranked 1st)

Last Season: 3rd (9-7-1)
Coach: Cherie O’Neill (1st season, replacing Travis Cloke)

Fixture: PM (H), Wil (H), Dar (A*), WB (A), SS (H), Col (A), GWS (A), Cas (H), NM (A), PM (A), Box (H), Car (H), Wil (A), Gee (H)
Plays Twice: Port Melbourne, Williamstown
VFL Double Headers: 4
Interstate Trips: 1
Summary: Cherie O’Neill arrives at The Hangar after two successful home-and-away seasons coaching Box Hill that yielded 20 wins and three draws but a 0-3 finals record. And her new team confronts a tough fixture that starts with home games against reigning premier Port Melbourne and another finalist in Williamstown – both their double-up opponents. Matches against last year’s bottom two follow and there is also a flight to play guest team GWS in Round 7.
Difficulty Score: 228 (ranked 6th)

Last Season: 8th (7-6-1)
Coach: Elise Coventry (2nd season)

Fixture: Car (H), Box (H), SS (A), Dar (N), GWS (A), NM (A), Car (A), Col (H), Cas (A), Wil (A), WB (H), Box (A), PM (H), Ess (A)
Plays Twice: Box Hill Hawks, Carlton
VFL Double Headers: 4
Interstate Trips: 1
Summary: A rare finals miss for the Cats last season and they will have to work hard to win their spot back with the second hardest fixture by the numbers. They are the only team to receive just six home games (although they performed better on the road than at home in 2023) and they finish with three massive tests in the last three rounds. The double-ups come against 2023 finalists in the Hawks and Blues and they are also on a plane to western Sydney in Round 5. Four “single-figure” matches fall from Round 7 onwards, including the last two games.
Difficulty Score: 206 (ranked 2nd)

Last Season: 9th (7-7)
Coach: Brett Gourley (1st season, replacing Steph Binder)

Fixture: WB (A), Car (H), Cas (H), Syd (A), Box (A), Gee (H), SS (A), Wil (A), Ess (H), Col (A), Dar (H), PM (A), Box (H), WB (H)
Plays Twice: Box Hill Hawks, Western Bulldogs
VFL Double Headers: 5
Interstate Trips: 1
Summary: Had a strong season last year but were caught in the squeeze of the tightest competition in league history. This year’s fixture falls into the same mid-table difficulty ranking, with one finalist and one non-finalist on the agenda in their double-up matches, while they go to Sydney in Round 4. Two home games in the first three can give the Kangaroos a good start and three more in the last four weeks could allow them a chance to build into what they hope will be a maiden VFLW finals campaign. Three “single-figure” games only, but they are grouped in a four-week stretch from Rounds 9-12.
Difficulty Score: 239 (ranked 7th)

Last Season: Premiers (12-6)
Coach: Sean Buncle (3rd season)

Fixture: Ess (A), Col (H), Wil (A), Cas (A), Car (A), GWS (H), Dar (A), WB (H), SS (A), Ess (H), Wil (H), NM (H), Gee (A), Box (H)
Plays Twice: Essendon, Williamstown
VFL Double Headers: 10
Interstate Trips: 0
Summary: The Borough’s premiership defence could have looked a lot tougher than this. While both their double-up games are against 2023 finalists – including the team they took the title from – there are only three teams with a nominally easier fixture. They start with two “single-figure” games, including the Grand Final rematch against Collingwood at home in Round 2, but only have two more for the rest of the year and will finish with four home games in the last five rounds, a trade off for welcoming only the Magpies to ETU Stadium in the first five.
Difficulty Score: 258 (ranked 9th)

Last Season: 7th (8-6)
Coach: Michelle Densley (2nd season)

Fixture: Col (H), Dar (H), Gee (H), GWS (A), Ess (A), Cas (H), NM (H), Box (N), PM (H), WB (A), Col (A), Wil (H), Car (A), Cas (A)
Plays Twice: Casey Demons, Collingwood
VFL Double Headers: 10
Interstate Trips: 1
Summary: Slid from grand finalists to miss the six last year on the back of the hardest fixture in the tightest of competitions. This draw is a little friendlier, although they are one of only three clubs with five “single-figure” games and they will also be playing traveling north to take on guest team GWS. The double-ups feature one team from each half of the ladder, although the lower one is Casey, which is rarely easy. The Saints will need to make hay early with the first three games being at home because four of the last five are on the road – all on the back of a clash with premiers Port.
Difficulty Score: 226 (ranked equal 4th)

Last Season: 11th (3-11)
Coach: Rhys Cahir (2nd season)

Fixture: NM (H), Cas (A), Syd (H), Ess (H), Wil (A), Car (H), Box (H), PM (A), Col (A), SS (H), Gee (A), Dar (A), Cas (H), NM (A)
Plays Twice: Casey Demons, North Melbourne
VFL Double Headers: 7
Interstate Trips: 0
Summary: The Bulldogs made great strides last year despite having the second hardest fixture due to not having a home ground. Will be back in familiar surroundings in 2024, especially early, when they play five of their first seven at VU Whitten Oval. Three “single-figure” matches include back-to-back away games against the grand finalists in Rounds 8-9 to end a six-game stretch where the “easiest” game is a home fixture against Box Hill Hawks. They face guest team Sydney but avoid having to fly to do so. Five of the last seven away will be a test.
Difficulty Score: 263 (ranked 10th)

Last Season: 5th (9-6)
Coach: Liam Cavanagh (2nd season)

Fixture: Dar (A), Ess (A), PM (H), Box (A), WB (H), Dar (H), Cas (A), NM (H), Car (H), Gee (H), PM (A), SS (A), Ess (H), Col (A)
Plays Twice: Darebin, Essendon, Port Melbourne
VFL Double Headers: 6
Interstate Trips: 0
Summary: A maiden final ended in heartbreaking fashion last year and the Seagulls will have to work to return in 2024 as one of three clubs with five “single-figure” fixtures. While they play Darebin twice, they also double up against the last two premiers in Essendon and Port Melbourne and are also away to runner-up Collingwood in the last game. Three of the first four and three of the last four are on the road, meaning they must make their move through the middle, with five home games in six weeks from Rounds 5-10. That last month could be make-or-break.
Difficulty Score: 226 (ranked equal 4th)

Last Season: N/A
Coach: TBC

Fixture: bye, bye, Car (A), SS (H), Gee (H), PM (A), Ess (H), bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye
Plays Twice: Nil
VFL Double Headers: 1
Interstate Trips: 2
Summary: A new look for the VFLW competition with the Giants and Swans playing five games as guest teams from Rounds 3-7. For GWS, that is three home games against Southern Saints, Geelong and Essendon and two trips to Victoria to face Carlton and Port Melbourne. It will be interesting to see how they treat these games – going for full strength practice matches for their AFLW team, or trying to develop the younger members of their squad. We’ll probably see a bit of both.
Difficulty Score: 77 (ranked 1st of guest teams)

Last Season: N/A
Coach: TBC

Fixture: bye, bye, WB (A), NM (H), Cas (H), Box (A), Col (H), bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye
Plays Twice: Nil
VFL Double Headers: 1
Interstate Trips: 2
Summary: As said above, the Swans will be VFLW guests for five weeks from Rounds 3-7. Swans fans will be happy to see one of the five matches fixtured as a double-header with the VFL team when they take on the Box Hill Hawks at Box Hill City Oval in Round 6. The Swans also travel to the Bulldogs and host the Kangaroos, Demons and Magpies. Again, will we see the best of Sydney, or will it be more of a look for selectors of the Round 1 AFLW team?
Difficulty Score: 101 (ranked 2nd of guest teams)