With the AFLW fixture set to drop soon, it’s worth having a look at how the competition’s new conference system will work.
For those that missed the memo, the 2019 AFLW season will be seven weeks long, plus an additional two weeks of finals.
With North Melbourne and Geelong joining, the competition has expanded to 10 teams, meaning some sides won’t play others at all next year.
For example, if Carlton and Brisbane are in different conferences, there’s a chance they might not play against each other in the 2019 season.
To make this work, the AFL will introduce a conference system which will see the 10 teams broken into two groups of five.
We see this in the NFL where the league is split in half (AFC and NFC) in part to deal with there being 32 sides and only 17 weeks.
The AFL has already confirmed last year’s ladder will play a big factor in how the teams are divided.
AFL Media reported earlier in the year that last year’s Grand Finalists, Brisbane and the Bulldogs, will be split. As will the bottom two teams in Carlton and Fremantle.
The Cats and Roos are also expected to be in separate conferences.
How will it all work? Teams will play every other side within their conference once and then play three games against teams in the other bracket.
As with the men’s competition, last year’s ladder will determine the difficulty of the fixture.
Conference 1: Bulldogs, Adelaide, GWS, Carlton and Geelong
Conference 2: Brisbane, Melbourne, Collingwood, Fremantle and North Melbourne
Come finals, the team that wins conference one will play the runner-up of conference two, and vice-versa. The winners face off in the Grand Final.
The season is set to start on the first weekend of February and with team lists essentially finalised after the National Draft, the AFLW season is ready to ramp up.
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