THOSE shaping the look of women’s football face a tough few weeks sifting through the detailed proposals of the eight clubs vying to play in the NAB AFL Women’s competition from 2019.
The AFL received bids from Essendon, Geelong, Gold Coast, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast by the Friday afternoon deadline.
The Sydney Swans made a submission indicating an interest in fielding a team in the future, providing they can provide appropriate training and administrative facilities. Port Adelaide did not lodge a formal bid, but said it remained “committed to promoting and developing women’s football at a grassroots level in South Australia”.
At least two clubs – and possibly four – will be given the green light to join the AFLW in 2019.
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Captain Dyson Heppell handed the Bombers’ bid to AFL CEO Gill McLachlan on Friday afternoon, describing it as a “historic and proud moment”.
Essendon’s focus is to grow female football in the Northern Territory and eventually play games in remote territories.
“I know what this club stands for and I know our submission is both genuine and compelling,” Heppell said.
“We think we have a unique and exciting proposition that will be hard for the AFL to ignore.
“AFLW is our next frontier and it’s an honour to be a part of it.”
Earlier Friday, around lunchtime, a Kangaroos contingent headed by coach Brad Scott and captain Jack Ziebell and including Lacie and Shayne Harvey, daughter and wife of club great and AFL games record holder Brent Harvey, delivered the club’s bid to AFL football operations manager Simon Lethlean and head of female football Josh Vanderloo.
North is keen to establish a presence in Tasmania, where its AFL team plays three home matches per season.
Hawthorn said its bid focused on the club’s ability to invest in its existing talent pathways and its willingness to play in new markets.
“Our ambition to establish an AFLW team is a genuine and authentic extension of our club and our commitment to an environment of excellence and inclusion,” CEO Tracey Gaudry said.
“Through the work we have done with women’s football at a grassroots level and the progressiveness highlighted by the impact women are making through our senior executive team and across the club, we are clearly ready to extend the (Hawthorn) family and we firmly believe our submission proves so,” she said.
Geelong and St Kilda campaigned heavily to be included in the 2018 competition and as holders of provisional licenses, are expected to be given priority by the AFL for inclusion in 2019. The Roos, Tigers and Eagles also hold provisional licenses.
The AFL is expected to announce the make-up of the 2019 AFLW competition by the end of July.