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Fears of truncated season for AFL Womens 2019 competition
While the AFL Womens competition is set to expand from eight to 10 teams in 2019 - with the addition of North Melbourne and Geelong - stakeholders have expressed concern that next year’s competition will be shortened.
As reported by the ABC, there is a general feeling that the competition should stick with its current system of the clubs playing each other once during the season.
The first two AFLW seasons consisted of seven rounds, beginning in February, with the top two teams on the ladder contesting the grand final.
However, there are reports that the AFL is considering reducing the home-and-away premiership to six rounds, before the finals are held across two weeks.
While maintaining the eight-week window in which the AFLW has already been contested in its first two seasons, Melbourne captain Daisy Pearce, the face of the AFLW since it was established, suggested such a format would result in a "gimmicky tournament".
Pearce’s sentiment is backed by high-profile AFLW player Lauren Arnell who told ABC Grandstand “the strong feedback, not only from social media but obviously Daisy's comments as well, and other players is pretty strong.”
Arnell, who will play for Brisbane next season after being an AFLW foundation player with Carlton, says the competition is balanced better when the clubs play each other at least once.
She added "at least we knew playing each other once.
"So when you do have such a short season … you at least take from that and say 'Well, we've had a good crack at each team'.
"I think with six games … the comments Daisy has made is the general consensus across all the players."
AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan says no decision has been made about the AFLW fixtures for next season, while describing the competition as a "huge priority" for the league.
The idea of reducing the number of home-and-away rounds also drew the ire of Collingwood AFLW player and Olympic hockey representative Georgie Parker, and former Western Bulldogs Vice-President Susan Alberti.
The fixture list is set to be released in late October.
Image: Teams at the launch of 2018 AFL Womens' season.
31st July 2018 - RSEA Park developments to prepare venue for St Kilda’s AFLW team
11th February 2018 - Optus Stadium welcomes record crowd for AFLW fixturew
30th January 2018 - Fans will make the game in AFLW second season
4th November 2017 - AFL Womens players get new pay deal for 2018 season
27th September 2017 - AFLW confirm further expansion plans over next two years
10th August 2017 - AFL on target to break 6.5 million attendance record
15th November 2016 - AFL advised to plan for long term interest in women’s competition
15th June 2016 - Eight teams to contest inaugural AFL women’s competition
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