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The AFL revealed the 2024 women’s regular season schedule on the 31st of May. A new addition this year is “Midweek Footy”, where games will be played on a Tuesday or Wednesday night from Week 4 to Week 7, to take advantage of Spring school holidays which run for two weeks but have different dates across Australian states and territories. There will be four Tuesday games and five Wednesday games during the period, ensuring all 18 clubs will play two games in one of the four weeks. Each team will play 11 games over 10 weeks this season, up from 10 weeks last year. The first Tuesday game of the season will take place on the 17th of September when Collingwood face West Coast at Ikon Park, and the first Wednesday game will be on the following night when Brisbane Lions host Western Bulldogs.

The addition of Tuesday and Wednesday games means clubs such as Fremantle, Port Adelaide, and Sydney will play back-to-back games in Victoria to try and prevent less travel time. Richmond, Geelong, and West Coast will have consecutive five-day breaks while the other 15 teams will have four-day breaks. Carlton, Collingwood, and the Western Bulldogs also have a 10-day break in the back half of the season.

The 2024 season kicks off on Friday, 30 August with the Sydney Swans hosting Collingwood at North Sydney Oval at 7:15 PM local time (5:15 m US EDT), marking the first time in AFL history that Sydney hosts both the men’s and women’s regular season opener in the same year. Two hours later, Daisy Pearce will mark her debut as West Coast coach, as the Eagles welcome Richmond at Mineral Resources Park in Perth. The week concludes with the grand final rematch between Brisbane and North Melbourne at Springfield on Sunday afternoon the 1st of September. This year's grand final has been locked in for 30th of November, after a four-week finals series.

AFLW games will be played in every state and territory in Australia, with C.ex Coffs International Stadium [Ed. note: yes, that is the correct name and spelling!] on the New South Wales Mid-North Coast the newest venue addition. While GMHBA Stadium (Geelong), People First Stadium (Gold Coast), and Optus Stadium (Perth) are the only major stadia confirmed so far to play AFLW games, the AFL is open to hosting other AFLW marquee games at big stadiums and will continue to work with clubs to make it happen.

AFL Head of Broadcast Operations and Scheduling, Josh Bowler, said the competition continues to grow and the introduction of "Midweek Footy" provides further opportunities for fans. He said the midweek games would “… provide great opportunities for fans to attend and watch at home on evenings that traditionally don't have footy. We felt it was important for our fans to maintain the weekend time slot structure we have seen in previous seasons, whilst also adding an additional game mid-week across the middle of the competition." Bowler added that delivering a strong start to the AFLW season by launching during the AFL pre-finals bye and finishing in late November was key to maximizing viewership and attendance for fans.

Other features of the 2024 schedule include:

  • Pride Round will be celebrated in Week 7 headlined by the Western Bulldogs playing Essendon at Whitten Oval – the venue of the first Pride game in 2018.
  • Weeks 9 and 10 will celebrate Indigenous Round and will see the traditional Dreamtime matchup between Essendon and Richmond being played for the first time in AFLW competition, taking place in Darwin on Saturday night, 26 October. Hawthorn will also take their Indigenous Round game to Cairns again when they take on Melbourne on Thursday night, 24 October, as part of the new three-year partnership deal with the Queensland Government and AFL Cairns.
  • GWS will play their first two home games in Canberra (against the Bulldogs in Week 1 and the Suns in Week 3), and the remaining four home games at Henson Park in inner Sydney.
  • North Melbourne will play two home games in Tasmania, against Richmond in Launceston in Week 5 and against Sydney in Week 7. The Kangaroos will once again face all seven of its fellow 2023 finalists, after being the only team to play every finalist last year.
  • Collingwood will split their six home games across Victoria Park (four), Ikon Park (one), and Gold Coast (one), but will not play at their training ground at Olympic Park.
  • The Gold Coast-St Kilda clash on 31st of August will be the first AFLW opening round game to be played at People First Stadium since 2021 and is one of four Suns home games at the venue. The Suns will play their remaining home game in Mackay in Central Queensland.
  • The Crows will play two home games at Unley Oval (hosting Hawthorn and Essendon on consecutive Sunday afternoons, in Week 3 and 4 respectively) and three home games at Norwood Oval (against St Kilda in Week 6, Melbourne in Week 7, and North Melbourne in Round 9).
  • For the first time, no AFLW game will be held on the day of AFL Grand Final which falls on the 28th of September this year. Instead, there will be four games played across Melbourne on Friday, 27 September, and four games will be played outside Victoria on Sunday, 29 September.

Similar to the men’s schedule, the AFL has not confirmed dates and times of the final week of the women’s season. They are expected to be revealed sometime in September.

Sources: Georgia Ahern, AFL media release; abc.net.au, foxsports.com.au

Article last changed on Sunday, June 09, 2024 - 8:50 AM EDT


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