THE launch of the AFL Women’s League (AFLW) was a milestone in Australian sport, and Australian culture.
To see 176 women making their debut as AFL players and more than 50,000 attending the historic matches was just as good as any final I’ve watched.
Footy was back, but it was moving to the future, and doing it right.
Melbourne’s Princess Park was at capacity with 25,000 attending, and officials were forced to tell people the stadium is full.
Television coverage was outstanding; 896,000 viewers watched the Friday night clash between Carlton and Collingwood.
The Adelaide vs GWS match had a peak audience of 114,000. Those two figures are outstanding considering there was no entry fees and both games were played on free-to-air television.
Saturday night’s clash between Western Bulldogs and Fremantle had a peak audience of 498,000.
It may not be a full-time gig just yet, but this product has so much potential that if it’s managed right, it could turn professional within 10 years.
But the best tangible of women’s football is that girls and women now have a path to play football at a semi-professional level.
Girls and women now have female football idols to look up to, it’s empowerment to every girl and woman in Australia.
Port Augusta had its own women’s football exhibition match last year and it was one of my best days spent at Central Oval.
The only concern I have is the talk about the AFLW is the talk about having the grand final played as a curtain raiser to an AFL match.
This league and these women deserve their own standalone time-slot, they’ve built the product and they deserve to reap the rewards. Australia is meant to be called the country of the fair-go, so it’s about time we gave girls and women a fair go.