“It’s not a privilege, it’s a right…”
Amanda Farrugia, retired GWS AFLW Captain and the 2020 Premiership Cup Ambassador couldn’t have summed up the vitality of Women’s football more perfectly, as the AFLW competition enters its’ fourth season in 2020.
There was a different feeling in the air as the AFLW 2020 Season was proudly launched at the University of Melbourne, only days out from the first game of the new year.
With Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast joining the competition in 2020, AFL CEO Gill McLachlan ensured that this AFLW Season is “the new normal” in not only Victoria, but across the country.
The nerves of previous years have seemingly settled, with the expectations of the competition already higher for the players, coaches and officials alike, as 14 sides now compete to be crowned Premiers.
That certainty, which has spawned from the AFL Women’s heroes at the top, was reiterated by the Head of AFLW, Nicole Livingstone.
“I couldn’t feel more confident and encouraged about where our league is positioned,” Livingstone said.
With 586,000 girls playing footy around the nation at all levels, it’s no surprise that Livingstone is assured that the fourth year of AFLW will only continue to strengthen the women’s football brand across Australia.
Although many of the women are seasoned veterans in year four of the competition, there is no hiding the fact that there is still a genuine buzz around each club, new and old.
New Richmond Captain Katie Brennan, who has previously donned the red, white and blue of the Western Bulldogs, spoke of her gratitude to lead a new and energetic group of girls.
“There are girls that have been delisted and have a second opportunity. They’ve brought a lot of energy to our group,” said Brennan.
Adelaide’s veteran Chelsea Randall has ridden a long journey in the AFLW system, but couldn’t be more content with the growth professionally.
“In 2017, we had nine of our 27 players living in Darwin and trying to juggle footy- almost like an arranged marriage, coming together on game day!” Randall joked.
“But coming into this fourth season, those girls are my family, from WA and we are just excited to go to that next level again.”
It feels like just yesterday that there was a lockout at Ikon Park at the inaugural Carlton-Collingwood AFLW season opener. In only days, four new teams will enter this proud competition and assist in pushing the support for women’s football at all levels.
And as Nicole Livingstone proudly stated to launch the new season:
“That’s the new normal...the sight and familiar sound of girls bouncing the Sherrin.”