|Most recent season or competition:|
AFL Women's season seven
|Sport||Australian rules football|
|Founded||15 September 2016|
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
|No. of teams||18|
|Headquarters||Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|Melbourne (1st premiership)|
|Most titles||Adelaide (3 premierships)|
|TV partner(s)|| Seven Network |
|Streaming partner(s)|| 7plus (Australia)|
Kayo Sports (Australia)
| AFL |
AFLW Under 18 Championships
|Official website|| womens|
AFL Women's (AFLW) is Australia's national semi-professional Australian rules football league for female players. The first season of the league in February and March 2017 had eight teams; the league expanded to 10 teams in the 2019 season, 14 teams in 2020 and 18 teams in 2022. The league is run by the Australian Football League (AFL) and is contested by each of the clubs from that competition. The reigning premiers are Melbourne.
The AFLW is the most attended women's football competition in Australia and one of the most popular women's football competitions in the world. Its average attendance in 2019 of 6,262 a game made it the second-highest of any domestic women's football competition. Its record attendance of 53,034 for the 2019 AFL Women's Grand Final was formerly the highest of any women's sport in Australia and remains the highest of any women's football in Australia.
The AFLW has attracted an audience of more than 1 million attendees  and 2 million viewers  and has managed to maintain high interest despite moving to primarily ticketed and subscription broadcasting models. In addition to the most attended, it consistently ranks in the top three (alongside cricket and netball) most watched women's sporting competitions in Australia. 
In 2010, the AFL commissioned in report into the state of women's football around the country.  Along with findings concerning grassroots and junior football, the report recommended the AFL Commission begin working toward the establishment of a national women's league. While the option of new stand-alone clubs was considered, a model using the resources and branding of existing AFL clubs was to be the preferred model for the planned league. 
The first on-field step towards the competition took place in 2013, when the AFL announced an exhibition match to be played between women's teams representing Melbourne and Western Bulldogs in June that year. The historic match had a crowd of 7,518 and was won by Melbourne by 35 points. 
On 15 May 2013, the first women's draft was held, establishing the playing lists for the two clubs in the forthcoming exhibition match.  The match played on 29 June 2013 marked the first time two women's sides had competed under the banners of AFL clubs. The exhibition series was repeated with one game between the clubs in 2014 and two in 2015, the last of which, played on 16 August 2015, was the first women's AFL game to be broadcast on free-to-air television. It attracted an average audience of 175,000, which outweighed the 114,000 average audience for the AFL men's clash between Adelaide and Essendon of the previous day. 
The success of these exhibition matches prompted the AFL to accelerate its plans for a nationwide women's competition, announcing a preferred start date of 2017.  Prior to this, the league had announced only aspirational plans to have the women's competition established by 2020.  The already-planned 2016 exhibition series was expanded at this time, with a total of ten matches to be played in venues across the country and featuring a range of new temporary representative teams. 
In 2016, the AFL opened a process for existing clubs to tender applications to join the new competition. The 18 clubs in the men's AFL had until 29 April 2016 to place a bid for a licence, with 13 clubs making bids: Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Geelong, Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Richmond, St Kilda, West Coast, and Western Bulldogs.  The AFL's preferred distribution of clubs was four clubs from Victoria and one each from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia. 
The inaugural teams were announced on 8 June 2016. As the only teams to bid in their respective states, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Greater Western Sydney were granted licences to compete in 2017.  Both Western Australian clubs made bids, with Fremantle's bid chosen ahead of West Coast's. Eight Victorian clubs made bids: Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Carlton and Collingwood were successful, with Geelong, North Melbourne, Richmond and St Kilda unsuccessful. All five unsuccessful bidders were granted provisional licences. 
Details about the branding of the league were released in the second half of 2016. The AFL announced that the league would be named "AFL Women's" or AFLW for short, on 15 September 2016, with the logo being unveiled on 19 September 2016.   The logo is a stylised rendition of an Australian rules football ground goal square and goal posts, drawn from a perspective that shows a "W".  On 10 October 2016, the National Australia Bank was named as the league's naming rights sponsor. 
The first premiership game was played on Friday, 3 February 2017  at Ikon Park. The AFL had initially planned to host the game at Melbourne's Olympic Park Oval, with a capacity of just 7,000, but was forced to change the venue to Ikon Park due to overwhelming interest and a lack of adequate seating.  The match was deemed a "lockout" with a capacity crowd of 24,568 in attendance, with a few thousand estimated to have been waiting outside.  As a result, Gillon McLachlan, the AFL's CEO, personally apologised to those who missed out. The game was also a great success on TV, attracting a national audience of 896,000, including 593,000 metropolitan free-to-air viewers, 180,000 regional free-to-air viewers, and 123,000 on Fox Footy.  The Melbourne metropolitan audience of 424,000 was on par with that of Friday-night AFL men's matches. 
The inaugural season concluded with the Grand Final held on Saturday, 25 March 2017. The Adelaide Crows were crowned the league's first premiers after defeating minor premiers, the Brisbane Lions. The scoreline read Adelaide 4.11 (35) def. Brisbane 4.5 (29). 
Expansion of the competition occurred in two installments, with two clubs added in 2019 and four in 2020, to result in 14 teams in total. The 10 AFL clubs not originally participating in the competition were invited to bid for inclusion, with priority given to the five clubs that unsuccessfully bid to participate in the inaugural season.  The deadline to lodge submissions was 16 June 2017. The only clubs not to bid were Port Adelaide and Sydney.  North Melbourne worked with AFL Tasmania to craft its bid, with the club aiming to play home matches in Melbourne, Hobart, and Launceston, and also select half of its playing list from Tasmania.   A final decision on which clubs are admitted to the competition was expected by the end of July 2017, but was delayed several times to September 2017.   
On 27 September 2017, the AFL announced that Geelong and North Melbourne had been selected to enter the competition in 2019.  North Melbourne retained its commitment to playing matches in Tasmania.  The league then expanded an additional four teams in 2020, with the AFL selecting Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast to join the competition.   The growth in clubs was accompanied by the introduction of American-style conferences for the 2019 season, further details of which can be found in the season structure section of this article. The conferences were abandoned in favour of the traditional single ladder ahead of the 2021 season.  The 2020 season was curtailed and eventually cancelled without a premiership awarded due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
On 12 August 2021, the other four clubs without an AFLW license, Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide, and Sydney, were granted entry into the competition to commence in AFL Women's season seven. 
|Club||Entry in 2017||Entry in 2019/20||Entry in 2022|
|Greater Western Sydney||Yes||Yes||—|
The competition's 18 teams are based across five states of Australia. Ten are based in Victoria (nine in the Melbourne metropolitan area), and New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia have two teams each. Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, and Tasmania are the only states or territories not to have AFLW teams, but North Melbourne has a formalised partnership with Tasmania, which enables the club to draft players from and play home games there.
|Club||Colours||Moniker||State||Home venue||S7 (2022)|
|Adelaide||Crows||South Australia||Unley Oval||6,706||—||2016||2017 +||7||3||2022|
|Brisbane||Lions||Queensland||Springfield Central Stadium||2,323||2016||2016||2017 +||7||1||2021|
|Carlton||Blues||Victoria||Princes Park||3,882||—||2016||2017 +||7||0||—|
|Collingwood||Magpies||Victoria||Victoria Park||5,621||—||2016||2017 +||7||0||—|
|Essendon||Bombers||Victoria||Various [lower-alpha 1]||4,245||—||2022||S7 (2022)||1||0||—|
|Fremantle||Dockers||Western Australia||Fremantle Oval||2,552||2016||2016||2017 +||7||0||—|
|Gold Coast||Suns||Queensland||Carrara Stadium||1,194||2016||2019||2020||4||0||—|
|Greater Western Sydney||Giants||New South Wales||Henson Park||2,984||2016||2016||2017 +||7||0||—|
|Hawthorn||Hawks||Victoria||Frankston Park||5,427||—||2022||S7 (2022)||1||0||—|
|Melbourne||Demons||Victoria||Casey Fields||3,362||2013||2013*||2017 +||7||1||S7 (2022)|
|North Melbourne||Kangaroos||Victoria & Tasmania^||Arden Street Oval||3,349||—||2018||2019||5||0||—|
|Port Adelaide||Power||South Australia||Alberton Oval||4,782||—||2022||S7 (2022)||1||0||—|
|Richmond||Tigers||Victoria||Punt Road Oval||2,662||—||2019||2020||4||0||—|
|St Kilda||Saints||Victoria||Moorabbin Oval||5,114||—||2019||2020||4||0||—|
|Sydney||Swans||New South Wales||Various [lower-alpha 2]||7,757||2016||2022||S7 (2022)||1||0||—|
|West Coast||Eagles||Western Australia||Lathlain Park||3,538||2016||2019||2020||4||0||—|
|Western Bulldogs||Bulldogs||Victoria||Whitten Oval [lower-alpha 3]||4,132||2013||2013*||2017 +||7||1||2018|
|^ denotes that the club has a formalised partnership with this state or territory|
* denotes that the club had a foundation women's team
+ denotes that the club was a founding member of the AFLW
Below are the venues that will host games during AFL Women's season seven. 
|Adelaide Oval||Adelaide, South Australia||53,500||Port Adelaide||1|
|Alberton Oval||Adelaide, South Australia||15,000||Port Adelaide||4|
|Arden Street Oval||Melbourne, Victoria||5,000||North Melbourne||2|
|Bellerive Oval||Hobart, Tasmania||19,500||North Melbourne||1|
|Bond University ||Gold Coast, Queensland||5,000||Gold Coast||1|
|Box Hill City Oval||Melbourne, Victoria||10,000||Hawthorn||2|
|Carrara Stadium||Gold Coast, Queensland||25,000||Brisbane, Gold Coast||5|
|Casey Fields||Melbourne, Victoria||12,000||Melbourne||4|
|Docklands Stadium ||Melbourne, Victoria||56,347||Essendon||1|
|Eureka Stadium||Ballarat, Victoria||11,000||Western Bulldogs||2|
|Frankston Park||Melbourne, Victoria||17,500||Hawthorn||3|
|Fremantle Oval||Perth, Western Australia||17,500||Fremantle||5|
|The Gabba||Brisbane, Queensland||42,000||Brisbane||2|
|Glenelg Oval ||Adelaide, South Australia||14,000||Adelaide||1|
|Great Barrier Reef Arena||Mackay, Queensland||10,000||Gold Coast||1|
|Henson Park||Sydney, New South Wales||30,000||Greater Western Sydney, Sydney||5|
|Kardinia Park||Geelong, Victoria||26,000||Geelong||4|
|Lathlain Park||Perth, Western Australia||6,500||West Coast||4|
|Manuka Oval||Canberra, Australian Capital Territory||16,000||Greater Western Sydney||1|
|Melbourne Cricket Ground ||Melbourne, Victoria||100,024||Melbourne||1|
|Mildura Sporting Precinct||Mildura, Victoria||5,000||Richmond||1|
|Moorabbin Oval||Melbourne, Victoria||10,000||St Kilda||5|
|Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex||Burpengary, Queensland||8,000||Brisbane||1|
|North Port Oval||Melbourne, Victoria||10,000||Essendon||2|
|North Sydney Oval||Sydney, New South Wales||16,000||Sydney||1|
|Norwood Oval||Adelaide, South Australia||22,000||Adelaide||1|
|Olympic Park Oval||Melbourne, Victoria||3,000||Collingwood||1|
|Perth Stadium||Perth, Western Australia||61,266||West Coast||1|
|Princes Park||Melbourne, Victoria||24,568||Carlton, Essendon, Geelong, Western Bulldogs||9|
|Punt Road Oval||Melbourne, Victoria||5,000||North Melbourne, Richmond, Sydney, Western Bulldogs||7|
|Reid Oval||Warrnambool, Victoria||5,000||Essendon||1|
|Spingfield Central Stadium||Ipswich, Queensland||8,000||Brisbane||1|
|Sydney Cricket Ground||Sydney, New South Wales||48,000||Sydney||1|
|Sydney Showground Stadium||Sydney, New South Wales||24,000||Greater Western Sydney||1|
|Unley Oval||Adelaide, South Australia||10,000||Adelaide||3|
|Victoria Park||Melbourne, Victoria||10,000||Collingwood||4|
|York Park||Launceston, Tasmania||19,000||North Melbourne||1|
The club's playing lists were constructed from scratch through the later stages of 2016. All participants in the 2017 season were required to be over the age of 17.
Initially, clubs were asked to nominate a list of desired players, with the AFL assigning two of these "marquee" players to each club. In addition, clubs were able to sign a number of players with existing connections to the club, or with arrangements for club-sponsored work or study.    This number varied for each club, in an attempt to equitably spread talent across the teams. In addition, clubs were required to recruit two "rookies" – people with no Australian rules football experience in the previous three-year period. The majority of players were later recruited through the 2016 AFL Women's draft.  The remaining list spots were filled with free-agent signings in the week following the draft. In total, clubs have 27 active listed players in addition to injury replacements signed to take the spot of long-term injury-affected players.
The current collective bargaining agreement, in place until the end of the 2022 season, has total player payments per club of $576,240 in 2020 and $717,122 in 2022. 
Players are split into four tiers as follows:
|Tier  ||2020||2021||2022||2023|
The rules are mostly the same as those used in the AFL, with a few exceptions:
Prior to the commencement of the home-and-away season teams are paired off to play an exhibition trial match. In 2017, these matches took place during varying weeks of January.
For the first two seasons of competition, the home-and-away season was operated on a single table, and seven matches were played by each of the eight teams. The two highest-placed teams at the conclusion of the home-and-away season qualified for the Grand Final match, in the absence of a longer finals series.
With the addition of two extra teams in 2019, the AFL Women's home-and-away season introduced conferences, a concept not common in Australian sports.   The top-two teams from the respective conferences qualified to the preliminary finals, with the first-ranked team in Conference A meeting the second-ranked team in Conference B and the opposite employed for the other preliminary final. The winners of those matches then met in the Grand Final. 
The use of conferences was retained in 2020, along with the inclusion of four additional teams. The 14 teams were split into two conferences of seven, with teams playing each other team in their conference once. The top-four teams in each conference qualified for the finals series. The first round of the finals consisted of four knockout finals, with teams from opposite conferences playing against each other, first in Conference A versus fourth in Conference B, and so on. This left a final four of North Melbourne, Fremantle, Carlton, and Melbourne, with two rounds of finals to be played. At this point, the season was abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with no 2020 premier.
In 2021, the league reverted to a single 14-team ladder. Each team played 9 matches, with the top six qualifying for a three-week finals series. All finals are knockouts, with the top-two teams having a bye in the first round of the finals.  Since 2022 the competition has been contested by 18 teams, and the finals series has expanded to eight teams and is played under the AFL final eight system that has been in use in the men's competition since the 2000 season.
These major individual awards and accolades are presented each season: 
In its inaugural 2017 season, all matches were televised live by affiliate partners the Seven Network and Fox Footy.  As part of the initial broadcast deal, the free-to-air carrier Seven broadcast one Saturday-night game per week as standard, in addition to the league's opening match and Grand Final. Pay TV network Fox Footy televised all premiership season matches, including simulcasts of the Seven-hosted matches other than the Grand Final.  The two television networks covered the costs of broadcasting these matches, with no licensing fee payable to the league in exchange.  “Fearless: The Inside Story Of The AFLW” debuted on Disney+ in 2022, the docu-series followed several AFLW clubs through the course of the 2022 season. 
The official internet/mobile broadcast partner of the AFL is BigPond, part of Telstra. The company hosts the league website and those of each of the eight participation clubs. The AFL has retained digital broadcast rights to matches in the league's inaugural season and will stream all matches live and free on the league website and mobile app.  Since 2021 Kayo Sports has streamed all AFLW matches live and on demand in Australia. 
Outside Australia, the inaugural season is available on Watch AFL. 
The National Australia Bank is the league's inaugural and (as of 2022) current naming-rights partner.  All playing and training equipment, as well as all licensed apparel and hats for the league's clubs, are manufactured by Cotton On.  Other 2017 league sponsors included Wolf Blass, Chemist Warehouse, and Kellogg's.    The official ball supplier is Sherrin. 
Official match-day attire, together with other club merchandise, is sold through the AFL's stores and website, as well through the clubs and some retailers.
Prior to the creation of the league, the AFL ran four years of exhibition matches between sides representing Melbourne and Western Bulldogs. In 2016, the series was expanded to multiple teams from around the country.
|2013 exhibition game|
|Sunday, 30 June||Melbourne 8.5 (53)||def.||Western Bulldogs 3.3 (21)||MCG (crowd: 7,500)||Match report|
|2014 exhibition game|
|Sunday, 29 June||Western Bulldogs 4.2 (26)||def. by||Melbourne 10.12 (72)||Etihad Stadium (crowd: 24,953 (D/H))||Match report|
|2015 exhibition series|
|Sunday, 24 May||Melbourne 4.13 (37)||def.||Western Bulldogs 4.5 (29)||MCG (crowd: 29,381 (D/H))||Match report|
|Sunday, 16 August||Western Bulldogs 5.6 (36)||def. by||Melbourne 6.4 (40)||Etihad Stadium (crowd: 27,805 (D/H))||Match report|
|2016 exhibition series|
|Sunday, 2 March||Melbourne 3.3 (21)||def. by||Western Bulldogs 6.5 (41)||Highgate Recreational Reserve||Match report|
|Saturday, 2 April||SANFL Blue 5.4 (34)||def.||SANFL Red 5.2 (32)||Adelaide Oval (crowd: 51,585 (D/H))||Match report|
|Saturday, 9 April||Sydney 9.8 (62)||def.||Greater Western Sydney 5.3 (33)||SCG (crowd: 37,045 (D/H))||Match report|
|Saturday, 9 April||West Coast 13.10 (88)||def.||Fremantle 3.5 (23)||Domain Stadium (crowd: 40,555 (D/H))||Match report|
|Sunday, 10 April||Northern Territory 13.11 (89)||def.||Tasmania 7.11 (53)||Peanut Reserve||Match report|
|Saturday, 16 April||Brisbane 5.8 (38)||def.||Gold Coast 3.6 (24)||Gabba (crowd: 20,041 (D/H))||Match report|
|Sunday, 22 May||Melbourne 14.7 (91)||def.||Brisbane 3.2 (20)||MCG (crowd: 26,892 (D/H))||Match report|
|Sunday, 5 June||Western Bulldogs 8.5 (53)||def.||Western Australia 5.10 (40)||Etihad Stadium (crowd: 28,769 (D/H))||Match report|
|Sunday, 5 June||South Australia 4.3 (27)||def.||NSW/ACT 3.7 (25)||Adelaide Oval (crowd: 40,896 (D/H))||Match report|
|Saturday, 3 September||Western Bulldogs 14.6 (90)||def.||Melbourne 7.9 (51)||Whitten Oval (crowd: 6,365)||Match report|
|Club||Years in |
|Premierships||Runners up||Premiership |
|Runner up |
|Adelaide||2017–present||3||1||2017, 2019, 2022||2021|
|Brisbane Lions||2017–present||1||3||2021||2017, 2018, 2022 (S7)|
The best and fairest award determined in the same way as the Brownlow Medal for men, with umpires awarding three, two, and one votes to the best three players in each game, and suspended players are ineligible.
|2018||Emma Kearney||Western Bulldogs|
|2019||Erin Phillips ||Adelaide|
|2020||Madison Prespakis ||Carlton|
|2021|| Brianna Davey |
Kiara Bowers 
|2022 (S6)||Emily Bates||Brisbane|
|2022 (S7)||Ally Anderson ||Brisbane|
The MVP award is voted on by the players' peers, in a similar method to the Leigh Matthews Trophy for men.
|2018||Courtney Gum||GWS Giants|
|2020||Jasmine Garner||North Melbourne|
Each week, the senior coach of each club gives five votes to the player they consider to be best on ground in the game in which their team plays, four to the second-best, and so on to one for the fifth-best.
|2018|| Chelsea Randall |
|2020||Jasmine Garner||North Melbourne|
|2018||Brooke Lochland||Western Bulldogs||12|
|2020||Caitlin Greiser||St Kilda||10|
|2021||Darcy Vescio (2)||Carlton||16|
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