The AFL has today met with all Clubs to advise the AFL Commission had approved recommendations from the AFLW Competition Committee relating to the season structure, fixture and ticketing arrangements for the upcoming season.

The AFL informed Clubs that the 2021 NAB AFL Women’s Competition will commence on Thursday January 28, 2021. 

The nine-round home and away season will be followed by a three-week finals series, with the Grand Final scheduled to be played on the second weekend of April. 

The 14-team competition will see matches played right across the country with a single ladder to be in place for 2021. 

AFL Head of Women’s Football Nicole Livingstone said there is much to look forward to in the fifth year of the NAB AFL Women’s Competition. 

“The NAB AFL Women’s Competition continues to have a strong impact on the game at all levels with over 600,000 women and girls now playing football across the country,” Ms Livingstone said. 

“In the space of five years the competition has grown from eight teams to 14, from 216 listed players to 420 currently listed, and from seven rounds and one week of finals to nine rounds and three weeks of finals in 2021. 

“The talent on the field is exciting and continues to go from strength to strength – 57 women were drafted in the recent NAB AFL Women’s Draft held in October this year – and they are set to immediately impact the competition.” 

The AFL also today announced the 2021 NAB AFL Women’s Competition will see all matches ticketed for the first time, another significant milestone displaying the progress of the competition and, as a safety measure, ensures each AFLW venue is COVID-safe. 

“We are proud the 2021 season will see all matches ticketed, we have listened to supporters of women’s football who continue to indicate a willingness to pay to attend AFLW matches and support the growth of the competition,” Ms Livingstone said. 

Tickets to AFLW matches for Adults / Concession will be $10 with free entry for children under 18.

Ms Livingstone said the earlier-than-usual start time and the single ladder for the 2021 season are part of the measures put in place to provide maximum flexibility and the best possible chance of completing the season should it be interrupted and said the AFL will continue to communicate with all clubs and players as decisions are made. 

“The absolute commitment from the AFL remains to complete the season and award an AFLW Premier in 2021,” Ms Livingstone said.

“We have been working hard behind the scenes to not only ensure the season commences, but also to allow for us to remain as adaptable as possible as the season progresses in a constantly changing environment. 

“While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the community, the health and welfare of everyone remains the priority and the AFL will deliver a full season in a safe manner anchored in the advice of public health officials and medical experts. 

“The use of High Performance Centres and the option of compressing the season were strongly considered and, while a more traditional model is in place for the upcoming season, we know we have the ability to pivot if the circumstances require us to do so and it becomes necessary to complete the season. 

“Throughout the planning process we listened to and worked closely with the players, their clubs and the AFLPA to ensure the best possible outcome for everyone in the game. We openly acknowledge there are unique challenges and recognise the non-football commitments of both AFLW players and staff and through this open dialogue we know the AFLW community is absolutely determined to work through them to achieve a full season.” 

AFLW clubs were earlier this week notified of the season start date. The mandated seven-day holiday break will remain in place with Club practice matches scheduled to take place in mid-January, 2021.  

The full fixture for the 2021 NAB AFL Women’s Competition will be released tomorrow, Friday December 11.