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'Our game is on the cusp of changing forever'

Historic launch of women's football league Teams are announced and we are ready to go for 2017

THE MCG on a clear, crisp Wednesday morning was the perfect setting for such a historic announcement. 

It’s the ground "everyone who grew up watching and playing footy wants to play on," said Western Bulldogs player Brianna Davey.

A huge media pack descended on to the ground, eager to hear which clubs would field a team in the national women’s league in 2017.

AFL commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick announced the eight clubs to take part: Adelaide, Brisbane Lions, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs. 

Fitzpatrick said it was a "defining moment" for Australian football.

"Our game is on the cusp of changing forever, and for the better," he said. 

"The concept of a national competition has been put together in a short space of time, but this day has been a long time coming." 

Six stars of the women’s game – Daisy Pearce, Tayla Harris, Darcy Vescio, Lauren Arnell, Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Davey – were on the ground and joined by young girls wearing the jumpers of the successful clubs as they were announced.

The women's football family came together to celebrate at the MCG on Wednesday. Picture: AFL Media

Polite applause greeted the naming of each team, as well as one "Go Pies!", cutting through the mass of journalists and camera crews when Collingwood was announced. 

Heads swivelled to see Collingwood president Eddie McGuire standing at the back, grinning from ear to ear. 

Fitzpatrick paid tribute to those who had put female footy on the agenda. 

"I want to thank those who have been championing women’s football since the first organised match was played in 1915. 

"The contribution and persistence of these pioneering individuals, who never lost the belief that this day would come, will not be forgotten."

After the announcement, the excitement on the ground was palpable. 

"It’s one of those 'pinch yourself' moments"

The girls involved in the presentation ran from player to player, getting their footballs autographed. 

Forward Tayla Harris, who will likely play for the Lions, said it was important for the game to have a national competition. 

"If it’s just a one-off game, it’s hard to follow.

"But now it’s a whole new league for supporters and new people to come on board, watch a season through and back a team." 

Davey, who also plays soccer for Melbourne City as a goalkeeper, can see a greater number of girls crossing from other codes after the launch of the league. 

"Now there’s an incentive to play, they’ll be so many girls coming over from other sports.

"Depending on how the league is run, if they can play both sports, I’d recommend them doing so." 

Bulldog Darcy Vescio was excited about what the announcement means for the future of women’s footy. 

"I feel really privileged to be here and be part of it, and to witness the teams getting called out," she said.

"It’s just going to grow once the league is (going) and people start learning about women’s footy."

Want more women's footy news?

• Meet the future stars of the women's game at the AFL women's football hub

• 2016 women's exhibition games: latest fixture and results