There was a 14.2 per cent spike in female participation in 2018.

AFL general manager of game development Andrew Dillon said the 530,166 females playing the game was only set to grow.

"The NAB AFL Women's competition has played a key role in contributing to an outstanding increase in football participation, growing by 14.42 per cent to reach a figure of 530,166, reflecting 32 per cent of all participation," he said

"As a result of the increase in female football participation, the AFL has developed the Female Safety Guidelines to ensure more participants and coaches are armed with the knowledge to ensure greater safety on the field for all women and girls.

"Diversity and inclusion also saw a rise in participation numbers with a total of 268,091 in 2018, showing that Australian football really is the game for everyone."

The report shows all states and territories in Australia recorded growth.

International participation was also at an all-time high, with an 8.5 per cent rise outside of Australia seeing 185,173 people play the game.

The overall participation numbers exclude players from the 18 AFL clubs, however do include state league competitions.