THE AFL has decided to wait for the NAB AFL Women's competition to develop before attaching specific names or titles to the major awards.

The inaugural season was officially launched on Wednesday, with the League unveiling the AFLW premiership cup for the first time.

Women's football trailblazer, and retired Western Bulldogs director, Susan Alberti was revealed as the premiership ambassador.

The AFL also outlined the other accolades on offer, with the competition's best and fairest award – akin to the Brownlow Medal – to be presented following the eight-week season.

There will be a leading goalkicker award, a NAB AFL Women's Rising Star medal (handed to the best player under the age of 21), and an award for best-afield in the Grand Final.

AFL chief Gillon McLachlan hailed the competition – which kicks off on Friday night with a clash between Collingwood and Carlton at Ikon Park – as an "historic" moment for the game.

"I want to be clear; this will be good for business," McLachlan said.

"But the compelling reasons can be explained in two words – equality and aspiration."

McLachlan has preached patience as he backed the AFLW competition to prosper in the years to come.

"This group of women players will create their own game," McLachlan said.

"I'd like to remind everyone that this is year one and I'd like to ask today that we give them time and space to develop into the elite footballers we know they will become.

"We are here for the long haul – let's back our players in and let them continue to grow the game and build the competition." 


NAB AFL Women’s Rising Star Award
To be eligible, the winner must be under the age of 21 at January 1 2017, and must not have been suspended by the AFL during the season. Two players will be nominated after each round of the home-and-away season. A panel comprising the following names will then vote to award the eventual winner: Simon Lethlean, Mark Evans, Josh Vanderloo, Jennie Loughnan, Kevin Sheehan, Peta Searle, Darren Flanigan, Kelly Underwood, Ros Lanigan, Shelley Ware.

2017 AFL Women’s Best & Fairest Trophy
The officiating umpires will award votes on a 3,2,1 basis after each match as per the men’s competition, with votes to be counted as part of the AFL Women’s Awards Night at a date and venue still to be confirmed. As per the men’s competition, any player suspended by the AFL during the season will be ineligible to receive the award.

2017 AFL Women’s Grand Final Best on Ground Award
To be presented to the player adjudged best-afield in the NAB AFL Women’s Grand Final on Saturday March 25. Selected members of the media will vote on a 3,2,1 basis at the conclusion of the Grand Final. 

2017 AFL Women’s Leading Goalkicker Award
To be awarded to the player(s) with the highest number of goals during the home-and-away season, and presented at the AFL Women’s Awards Night (date to be confirmed). 

2017 AFL Women’s All Australian Team
The same panel that will adjudge the NAB AFL Women’s Rising Star Award will also vote on the composition of the AFL Women’s All-Australian Squad. The squad will be named at the conclusion of the season with the final team to be announced at a later date.