The AFLW is looking to have a massive fourth season is 2020, with the league adding four new teams in St Kilda, Richmond, West Coast and Gold Coast and several teams looking to improve after disappointing seasons in 2019.
What we learnt from last season
We learnt that conference systems aren’t always the solution and in 2020 it’s looking like it will be an even more even competition.
Chloe Molloy said on her podcast The Boundary, “They’ve had experts come in and rate the players to give an overall rating of the team."
Even though they have looked to change the conference system a bit more, it adds more fuel to the argument that the AFLW can’t develop unless the season is extended.
The AFLW's Weaknesses
The Conference system
It was obvious that one conference was way stronger than the other, which lead to North Melbourne narrowly missing out on the finals series even though they only lost two games that season.
In the other conference, you had Geelong make the finals after only winning 2 games. As mentioned above, the AFLW is looking to have more even conferences then they did last season, with the conferences in 2020 looking as follows
The conferences for 2020 look like this
Adelaide, Brisbane, Geelong, Gold Coast, GWS, North Melbourne and Richmond
Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Melbourne, St Kilda, West Coast and the Bulldogs
The AFLW's Strengths
The strengths of the league is the community vibe you get at the games, it’s something that you can’t get in the AFL. The games are held at iconic suburban grounds, like Ikon Park, Whitten Oval and Victoria Park.
“It's the real community feeling you get being at the games," Brianna Davey said.
"I mean, obviously I'm usually playing when I’m there, but even the games I go to as a spectator when I’ve watched other teams play - I think it's just real community vibe.
"I really think that AFLW manages to change the landscape a little bit, not only in AFL but also moving forward. I think it's great."
AFLW Expansion signings
The way that the league has allowed teams such as North Melbourne and Richmond come in and be able to essentially hand pick their list, can be deemed unfair.
Both years it has been the same teams hit hard, with Brisbane losing the likes of Kaitlyn Ashmore (North Melbourne), Tahlia Randall (North Melbourne) and Brittany Grierson (North Melbourne) in the first expansion signing, and Sabrina Fredrick (Richmond) Kate McCarthy (St Kilda) Nat Exon (St Kilda) Paige Parker (GC) Leah Kaslar (GC) Sam Virgo (GC) in the Second Round of Expansion signings.
Brisbane is just one of the clubs that was hit hard, with the Bulldogs, Collingwood and Fremantle also disadvantaged.
With clubs getting very little compensation in return, because at the time the talent pool wasn’t as deep to have it stretched even further at the time of the first expansion.
This is one thing that needs to be improved, when the next round of expansions come in.