Hot on the heels of last weekend’s showdown, Port Adelaide have been invited to submit proposals for an AFLW team, set to make their debut for the league’s Seventh Season next year.
Those invited to submit proposals to the AFL Commission include Essendon, Hawthorn and Sydney’s, with further expansion projected to include 18 AFLW teams by the commencement of Season Eight in 2023.
The AFL has also announced changes to the timing of the AFLW season, with season six commencing in December 2021 so as to avoid a clash with the men’s league.
This is a welcome move for Port, finally given the opportunity to face off against their Crows rivals who have been involved in the league since its inception in 2017. The Crows AFLW have dominated the women’s league in recent years, winning the flag in 2017 and 2019 and just losing out in a nail-bitingly close Grand Final with the Brisbane Lions this year.
With the number of women and girls taking to the field each week across the country sitting at more than 67,000, the AFLW is certainly showing no signs of slowing down.
South Australia has been a hotspot for the development of women’s football in the last few years, seeing “the greatest percentage of growth in female football participation in the country” says Matthew Richardson, Port Adelaide Chief Executive, calling the decision to expand a “landmark day for the club”.
The past year has been an explosive year for the growth of female participation in football in South Australia, registering participation at 7,773 players, 68% higher than in 2020.
The provision of a second women’s AFL team in South Australia will open the doors for a score of talented female players to experience playing football at the highest level, inspiring even more participation at amateur levels throughout the state.
Keen to develop their young players in state-of-the-art facilities, the invitation to the women’s team coincides with the club’s ongoing upgrade of their training ground at the Alberton Oval, with a $25-30m re-investment being poured into training and rehabilitiation facilities for both the club’s men’s and women’s programs.
You can read more about the AFLW’s announcement on their website.