The AFLW has gone from strength to strength in recent years and this season will welcome two new teams and a conference finals system to the fold.
North Melbourne and Geelong will join the AFLW in 2019, increasing the number of teams from eight to 10.
The competition’s expansion will result in the league being split into two conferences, with each team playing four games against their fellow conference members and three cross-over matches against teams from the other conference.
The finals series will expand to include preliminary finals for the first time – something an improving GWS Giants side are well and truly aiming for in 2019.
Giants star Maddy Collier was thrilled about the AFLW’s expansion, which will explode to 14 teams in 2020.
“We are all excited the game is growing,” she told the Weekender.
“Hopefully, in the future, more teams will mean more games, which is what we are after.”
The 23-year-old has been a member of the Giants ever since their inaugural season in 2017. That year GWS finished dead last with just one win to their name. In 2018, they improved to fourth spot and fell just one win shy of a Grand Final appearance.
Collier said the side’s improvement over the course of three years has been night and day.
“It’s been great. The first season no one knew what to expect and we weren’t happy with how we went and we wanted to do better,” she said.
“Last year we saw quite a bit of our potential, and we’re looking to do one better this year. Finals are something we are trying to aim towards.”
In GWS’s recent practice match, they thumped last year’s Grand Finalists Brisbane by 47 points. And while you can’t put too much stock into a trial game, the huge win will only do the Giants a world of good when they tackle the Lions again in this Sunday’s season opener in Brisbane.
“It should be a close game on the weekend,” Collier said.
The Giants’ first home game will be held next Friday, February 8 at Drummoyne Oval against North Melbourne. Entry is free.
Nathan Taylor is the Western Weekender’s award-winning sports journalist. Nathan is also the Weekender’s Deputy Editor.