This post was first published before the first game on February 3. Here you can find everything you need to know about the competition.
It’s rare that I get emotional about sport. In fact, aside from the odd teenage tantrum while being dragged to an early morning netball game, it’s never really happened.
But at the launch of the inaugural AFL Women’s competition, I teared up a little bit.
Because this moment has been a century in the making. Don’t believe me? Listen here:
“Early last year I potentially pre-emptively said we have a revolution happening in our game,” AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan told a North Melbourne warehouse-worth of media types and footy luminaries.
“It turns out revolution was the right word,” he said.
“But this moment in women’s football, this apparent overnight success, has in fact been over one hundred years in the making.
“We stand here today on a platform ready to launch, but it is a platform built for us by the passion and commitment of many unacknowledged women over many decades. Volunteers, administrators, players, umpires, coaches … these are the true change-agents, they are the true revolutionaries.”
The right to kick around the footy has been hard-won for generations of Aussie women.
For decades they were relegated to the sidelines and the stands but on Friday night they’ll be taking to the field — it’s pretty bloody exciting.
There are eight clubs, but the dream is to one day have eighteen, as Western Bulldogs vice-president and champion for the league Susan Alberti noted when she unveiled this:
The Premiership Cup.
The team captains were all there, of course. Amanda Farrugia, Daisy Pearce, Emma Zielke, Steph Chiocci, Lauren Arnell, Kara Donnellan, Katie Brennan and Chelsea Randali stood shoulder-to-shoulder as they got the first close-up look at the prize.
“I want to be clear — this will be good for business, but, as compelling, it can be explained in two words — equality and aspiration,” McLachlan said.
“It will be football as we’ve always known it … but it will also be very different. This group of women players will create their own game.”