A 10-match national women's Aussie rules series will be played across Australia in March, acting as a curtain raiser to next year's proposed eight-team women's competition.
The AFL announced on Saturday that the 10-match series will begin and end with games between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs with other participating teams aligned with Fremantle, West Coast, GWS Giants, Sydney Swans, Northern Territory, Tasmania and South Australian All Stars teams.
"Round one of this year's exhibition games will include players training in state academies while round two consists of state representative matches featuring the best players from around the country," the AFL wrote in a statement on its website.
The announcement follows a round 20 exhibition match during the 2015 season between two women's teams aligned with the Western Bulldogs and the Melbourne Demons, which was broadcast on free-to-air television. The match attracted more viewers the previous day's men's match between Adelaide and Essendon.
The AFL brought forward the new women's competition from 2020 to 2017, with eight teams affiliated with AFL clubs likely to form the league, which would be held in February and March.
The competition could run for seven rounds plus finals and would include four teams from Victoria and one each from Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.
Given the success of the women's exhibition played between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs last season, the two sides are likely to be given two of the four Victorian spots, ahead of eight other clubs in the state.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan a decision on the competition's make-up is expected by May, but the format could see 16-a-side competition and shorter games.
"There's a revolution going on," McLachlan said.
2016 Women's Matches
March 6 Melbourne v Western Bulldogs, Craigieburn
April 2 SANFL All Stars, Adelaide Oval
April 9 Sydney Swans v GWS Giants, SCG
April 9 West Coast v Fremantle, Domain Stadium, Perth
April 10 Northern Territory v Tasmania, St Kilda
April 16 Brisbane Lions v Gold Coast, Gabba
May 22 Melbourne v Queensland, MCG
June 5 Western Bulldogs v Western Australia, Etihad Stadium
June 5 South Australia v NSW, Adelaide Oval
Round Three – Hampson-Hardeman Cup
September 3 Melbourne v Western Bulldogs (venue TBC)Suggest a correction