AFL Announces 10-Match National Women's Series For March

20/02/2016 3:42 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Michael Dodge via Getty Images
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 16: Katie Brennan of the Bulldogs looks upfield during a Women's AFL exhibition match between Western Bulldogs and Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on August 16, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

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

Round One

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

Round Two

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)

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