|Date||R||HEIM vs AUSWÄRTS||-|
|09/30 08:10||6||Hawthorn - Damen vs West Coast - Damen||View|
|09/30 10:00||6||Port Adelaide - Damen vs Adelaide - Damen||View|
|10/01 02:10||6||GWS - Damen vs Carlton - Damen||View|
|10/01 04:10||6||Western Bulldogs - Damen vs Geelong - Damen||View|
|10/01 06:10||6||St Kilda - Damen vs Collingwood - Damen||View|
|10/01 08:10||6||Richmond - Damen vs Gold Coast - Damen||View|
|10/02 02:10||6||Brisbane - Damen vs Essendon - Damen||View|
|10/02 04:10||6||Fremantle - Damen vs Melbourne - Damen||View|
|10/02 06:10||6||North Melbourne - Damen vs Sydney - Damen||View|
|10/07 07:10||7||St Kilda - Damen vs Carlton - Damen||View|
|10/07 09:10||7||West Coast - Damen vs Richmond - Damen||View|
|10/08 02:10||7||Sydney - Damen vs Gold Coast - Damen||View|
|Date||R||HEIM vs AUSWÄRTS||-|
|09/25 05:10||5|| Adelaide - Damen vs GWS - Damen ||97-1|
|09/25 03:10||5|| Gold Coast - Damen vs Port Adelaide - Damen ||46-32|
|09/24 01:10||5|| Richmond - Damen vs Brisbane - Damen ||18-14|
|09/23 09:30||5|| Carlton - Damen vs Melbourne - Damen ||8-50|
|09/23 07:10||5|| Sydney - Damen vs Hawthorn - Damen ||31-35|
|09/23 05:10||5|| Collingwood - Damen vs Essendon - Damen ||28-17|
|09/23 02:40||5|| Western Bulldogs - Damen vs North Melbourne - Damen ||28-43|
|09/22 07:10||5|| Geelong - Damen vs St Kilda - Damen ||71-21|
|09/22 05:10||5|| West Coast - Damen vs Fremantle - Damen ||23-26|
|09/18 06:10||4|| Melbourne - Damen vs Brisbane - Damen ||27-42|
|09/18 04:10||4|| Essendon - Damen vs Richmond - Damen ||24-26|
|09/18 02:10||4|| Collingwood - Damen vs Essendon - Damen ||16-21|
AFL Women's (AFLW) is Australia's national semi-professional Australian rules football league for female players. The first season of the league in February and March 2017 had eight teams; the league expanded to 10 teams in the 2019 season, 14 teams in 2020 and 18 teams in 2022. The league is run by the Australian Football League (AFL) and is contested by each of the clubs from that competition. The reigning premiers are Adelaide.
The AFLW is the most attended women's football competition in Australia and one of the most popular women's football competitions in the world. Its average attendance in 2019 of 6,262 a game made it the second-highest of any domestic women's football competition. Its record attendance of 53,034 for the 2019 AFL Women's Grand Final was formerly the highest of any women's sport in Australia and remains the highest of any women's football in Australia.
The AFLW has attracted an audience of more than 1 million attendees and 2 million viewers and has managed to maintain high interest despite moving to primarily ticketed and subscription broadcasting models. In addition to the most attended, it consistently ranks in the top three (alongside cricket and netball) most watched women's sporting competitions in Australia.
In 2010, the AFL commissioned in report into the state of women's football around the country. Along with findings concerning grassroots and junior football, the report recommended the AFL Commission begin working toward the establishment of a national women's league. While the option of new stand-alone clubs was considered, a model using the resources and branding of existing AFL clubs was to be the preferred model for the planned league.
The first on-field step towards the competition took place in 2013, when the AFL announced an exhibition match to be played between women's teams representing Melbourne and Western Bulldogs in June that year. The historic match had a crowd of 7,518 and was won by Melbourne by 35 points.
On 15 May 2013, the first women's draft was held, establishing the playing lists for the two clubs in the forthcoming exhibition match. The match played on 29 June 2013 marked the first time two women's sides had competed under the banners of AFL clubs. The exhibition series was repeated with one game between the clubs in 2014 and two in 2015, the last of which, played on 16 August 2015, was the first women's AFL game to be broadcast on free-to-air television. It attracted an average audience of 175,000, which outweighed the 114,000 average audience for the AFL men's clash between Adelaide and Essendon of the previous day.
The success of these exhibition matches prompted the AFL to accelerate its plans for a nationwide women's competition, announcing a preferred start date of 2017. Prior to this, the league had announced only aspirational plans to have the women's competition established by 2020. The already-planned 2016 exhibition series was expanded at this time, with a total of ten matches to be played in venues across the country and featuring a range of new temporary representative teams.
In 2016, the AFL opened a process for existing clubs to tender applications to join the new competition. The 18 clubs in the men's AFL had until 29 April 2016 to place a bid for a licence, with 13 clubs making bids: Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Geelong, Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Richmond, St Kilda, West Coast, and Western Bulldogs. The AFL's preferred distribution of clubs was four clubs from Victoria and one each from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia.
The inaugural teams were announced on 8 June 2016. As the only teams to bid in their respective states, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Greater Western Sydney were granted licences to compete in 2017. Both Western Australian clubs made bids, with Fremantle's bid chosen ahead of West Coast's. Eight Victorian clubs made bids: Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Carlton and Collingwood were successful, with Geelong, North Melbourne, Richmond and St Kilda unsuccessful. All five unsuccessful bidders were granted provisional licences.
Details about the branding of the league were released in the second half of 2016. The AFL announced that the league would be named "AFL Women's" or AFLW for short, on 15 September 2016, with the logo being unveiled on 19 September 2016. The logo is a stylised rendition of an Australian rules football ground goal square and goal posts, drawn from a perspective that shows a "W". On 10 October 2016, the National Australia Bank was named as the league's naming rights sponsor.
The first premiership game was played on Friday, 3 February 2017 at Ikon Park. The AFL had initially planned to host the game at Melbourne's Olympic Park Oval, with a capacity of just 7,000, but was forced to change the venue to Ikon Park due to overwhelming interest and a lack of adequate seating. The match was deemed a "lockout" with a capacity crowd of 24,568 in attendance, with a few thousand estimated to have been waiting outside. As a result, Gillon McLachlan, the AFL's CEO, personally apologised to those who missed out. The game was also a great success on TV, attracting a national audience of 896,000, including 593,000 metropolitan free-to-air viewers, 180,000 regional free-to-air viewers, and 123,000 on Fox Footy. The Melbourne metropolitan audience of 424,000 was on par with that of Friday-night AFL men's matches.
The inaugural season concluded with the Grand Final held on Saturday, 25 March 2017. The Adelaide Crows were crowned the league's first premiers after defeating minor premiers, the Brisbane Lions. The scoreline read Adelaide 4.11 (35) def. Brisbane 4.5 (29).
Expansion of the competition occurred in two installments, with two clubs added in 2019 and four in 2020, to result in 14 teams in total. The 10 AFL clubs not originally participating in the competition were invited to bid for inclusion, with priority given to the five clubs that unsuccessfully bid to participate in the inaugural season. The deadline to lodge submissions was 16 June 2017. The only clubs not to bid were Port Adelaide and Sydney. North Melbourne worked with AFL Tasmania to craft its bid, with the club aiming to play home matches in Melbourne, Hobart, and Launceston, and also select half of its playing list from Tasmania. A final decision on which clubs are admitted to the competition was expected by the end of July 2017, but was delayed several times to September 2017.
On 27 September 2017, the AFL announced that Geelong and North Melbourne had been selected to enter the competition in 2019. North Melbourne retained its commitment to playing matches in Tasmania. The league then expanded an additional four teams in 2020, with the AFL selecting Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast to join the competition. The growth in clubs was accompanied by the introduction of American-style conferences for the 2019 season, further details of which can be found in the season structure section of this article. The conferences were abandoned in favour of the traditional single ladder ahead of the 2021 season. The 2020 season was curtailed and eventually cancelled without a premiership awarded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 12 August 2021, the other four clubs without an AFLW license, Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide, and Sydney, were granted entry into the competition to commence in AFL Women's season seven.
|Club||Entry in 2017||Entry in 2019/20||Entry in 2022|
|Greater Western Sydney||Yes||Yes||—|