Why the AFL’s new format for women’s footy is ‘bastardry’

The suggestion that the AFLW be restricted to a competition of six home-and-away games and two weeks of finals in 2019 (from seven and a Grand Final), despite the addition of two new teams, has, unsurprisingly, provoked a storm of protest.

The new dawn of that magic occasion last year, when they had to turn thousands away from the first AFLW match at Princes Park, suddenly seems very distant.

The AFL misjudged it then, originally scheduling the opener for a training ground, before shifting it to a larger venue. Even then too many came, AFL chief Gillon McLachlan personally apologising to disgruntled fans outside the stadium.

McLachlan was a champion of the women’s game. He was, rightfully, praised for his leadership in getting the competition up and running.

Now he has cast himself as a latter day Petruchio, making the women beg for morsels at his table.

As the players have said, they simply want a fair dinkum competition. This is not difficult. The AFL needs only increase the number of games to nine – allowing every team to play each other once – and two weeks of finals.

Anything less, and the AFL stands accused of the worst tokenism, cynical virtue signalling without substance.

Girls are flocking to the game across Melbourne.

Now the AFL is in danger of telling them that they belong in the corner.



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