The Western Bulldogs is the team to beat in the AFL women’s league, while Mo Hope and Daisy Pearce are expected to take the game by storm, according to the eight captains on the eve of their first season.
At the season launch in Melbourne, club captains nominated their favourites for the flag.
Three predicted the Bulldogs to lift the premiership trophy on March 25, but Fremantle and Carlton were close behind with two each.
— Stephanie Chiocci (@Steph_Chiocci) February 1, 2017
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said he was in the midst of a revolution in the game and the AFL was in it “for the long haul”.
“This is year one. The 176 women making their debut this weekend carry an extraordinary amount on their shoulders, I ask today that we give them time and space to grow into the elite footballers we know they can be,” he said.
“Let’s back our players in to grow the game and build the competition. I can guarantee you that AFLW will be vastly different in three years than to year one.”
Carlton’s Lauren Arnell said she could not wait to run out onto Princes Park on Friday night against Collingwood.
“There’s obviously massive history between both clubs and for us to be able to add to that history and create our own is really special,” she said.
Entertaining, high-paced football on show
Melbourne Demons captain Daisy Pearce was voted the most likely to take out best and fairest.
“The season’s launched, we’ve seen the cup, there’s no turning back now,” Pearce said.
“For the footy purest who doubt women can play the game, I just encourage them to come down and have a look.”