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AFL announce new eight-team Women’s competition from 2017

Traditional heavyweights Carlton and Collingwood join Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs as the Victorian contingent in the first year of the AFL national women's league.

Fremantle has edged out West Coast in the battle of the west to be the Perth-based team in the eight-club inaugural competition.

Adelaide, Brisbane Lions and Greater Western Sydney are the other non-Victorian clubs to compete in the eight-week season in February-March next year.

The other AFL club applicants, Richmond, Geelong, North Melbourne and St Kilda, along with the Eagles, have been granted provisional licences to be part of an expanded women's league in 2018, depending on development of the game in their areas.

Next season's women's competition will feature six home-and-away rounds, with the top four playing two semi-finals and a Grand Final.

The women's Grand Final could be played in the week between the end of the NAB Challenge and the start of the AFL season, or as a curtain-raiser to the AFL season opener at the MCG on either a Thursday or Saturday night.

The eight women's teams granted licences to compete in 2017

• Adelaide
• Brisbane Lions
• Carlton
• Collingwood
• Fremantle
• Greater Western Sydney
• Melbourne
• Western Bulldogs

Melbourne captain Daisy Pearce was among a group of top-line players at the launch, including Tayla Harris, Brianna Davey, Lauren Arnell, Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Darcy Vescio. They're expected to be marquee signings for the competing clubs.

"It's great to have the opportunity to play an elite sport out on an elite arena in a professional environment. But more so, to look around today and see those little girls who will grow up knowing that's something they can achieve is amazing,'' Pearce said.

Pearce said the summer pre-season training and games in the heat wouldn't be a major problem.

"It will be pretty warm, but we would normally be in pre-season training at that time of the year anyway. And I think the quarters may be a tad shorter for that reason,'' she said.

"I have to take myself out of the bubble and realise what an amazing revolution this is. I work at Melbourne and play every weekend and sometimes you have to reflect on how enormous this is.

"It's the biggest code and the biggest sporting body in the country and certainly here it's a big part of the culture of Melbourne and to now have the opportunity to play this sport means a lot to girls.”



Credit: News courtesy of the AFL 

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