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AFLW: What’s next?

We have a licence and we have a coach, so what’s next to come for North Melbourne in AFLW?

As we progress through to Round 1 in 2019, will keep you up-to-date with all you need to know from the first recruit, to the very first game.

Here’s some fundamentals to get you prepared for North's inaugural AFLW team in 2019.

Who is the coach?
Scott Gowans, former Assistant Coach of Carlton’s AFLW team will coach the inaugural side. The well-known coach’s resume includes leading Diamond Creek into the VFL Women’s Grand Final in September and coaching the AFL Victoria Country youth girls team.

Which teams are currently in the competition?
There are currently 8 AFLW teams – Adelaide Crows, Collingwood, Carlton, Brisbane Lions, GWS Giants, Melbourne, Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs.

In 2019 the competition will expand with North Melbourne and Geelong fielding teams.

The following year, in 2020, West Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and Gold Coast Suns will enter the competition.

When does the season start and how does it work?
Pre-season commences in November, with the season running from February through to March. Fixtures will be announced next year. 

In the inaugural year, each of the eight teams plays each other once in a seven-week season. This will change in 2019 with the addition of North and Geelong.

How do the finals work?
After the home and away season finishes, the top two teams play off in the grand final. Once again, this is subject to change, potentially with the inclusion of finals, with the addition of two new teams.

How will we build our playing list?
The AFL is currently consulting with all existing and expansion clubs about list movement for the 2019 AFLW season. We’ll likely see the first influx of current AFLW-listed players in a sign and trade period at the completion of the 2018 AFLW season, in April next year. 

We’ll also be looking to sign mature-age talent from those who haven’t played AFLW before, particularly cross-code athletes and Tasmanian talent. The remainder of our list will then be built via the AFLW draft in October 2018, with any priority picks, number of picks and draft order to be decided by the AFL post the 2018 AFLW season.

How many players per team?
Each team has a squad of 30 players, including two marquee players and three rookies.

On game day, each team fields 16 players, six on the bench and three emergencies.

How long are the quarters?
Each quarter is 15 minutes long plus time for a goal or injury, therefore approximately 20 minutes all up. The duration including breaks is two hours.

What are the interchange rules?
Unlike the men’s competition, there are uncapped rotations – this is to account for the heat throughout February and March when the season is played.

Are the rules modified from the men’s competition?
The ball is slightly smaller with a Sherrin size 4.

Where will games be played?
Considering the licence has recently been granted, North will continue working with the AFL, AFL Tasmania and the Government of Tasmania to work out the logistics of where games are held between Victoria and Tasmania.

How many Tasmanian players will we field?
Whilst this all depends on the recruiting and drafting process, the aim is to eventually have half of the team represented by Tasmanian talent.

What does the partnership with Tasmania mean?
The partnership with Tasmania is a way to represent the state in the AFLW competition and is a further commitment from North Melbourne to the state of Tasmania. We’re committed to developing the talent pool, representing the state on the national stage and playing games in the state from 2019.

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The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs