By Ant Wingard
AFL Queensland has formally announced changes to the 2020 Bond University QAFLW season, which will see the commencement date of the competition align with the 2020 NAB AFL Women’s Fixture.
The start date of Queensland’s premier female division has been moved forward, with Round One now scheduled for the weekend of February 29 – March 1.
The slate of Round 1 matches will coincide with Round 4 of the AFLW season where it will supplement the national competition for the final five rounds of the home and away season, as well as the three week finals series through to April 18-19.
With two Queensland clubs playing in the AFLW competition from next season, the fixture changes will allow listed players at either the Brisbane Lions or Gold Coast SUNS the opportunity to still play football should they not be selected in an AFLW team on any given weekend.
The decision to move the fixture has been welcomed by both the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS.
Brisbane Lions Women’s Football Chief Executive Officer, Bree Brock, said the changes to the fixture would be beneficial to both the AFLW and QAFLW clubs.
“Over the past three seasons, not being able to play our non-playing players has been really difficult in terms of getting them to ready to play when they’re required,” Brock said.
“I think it’s a huge benefit to the playing groups’ psyche. We haven’t had that before.
“For the QAFLW competition, it allows other [non-AFLW] players to play bigger roles and have greater opportunity. We’ll now see more talent rise up through the competition.
“It’s a credit to our local QAFLW clubs and the progress they have made over the past four to five seasons. They are driving the standards and continuing to provide better programs each year.”
Gold Coast SUNS Head of Women’s Football, Fiona McLarty, said the changes to the QAFLW calendar is more evidence of AFL Queensland’s commitment to women’s football.
“It’s great to have women’s football in Queensland running at the same time as the AFLW season,” McLarty told aflq.com.au.
“It’s really valuable for us to give players who aren’t in the AFLW side some real game-time while the season is running, rather than just rely on training sessions for them to build form.
“It’s also good for the players themselves as it gives them the best opportunity to put their hand up for AFLW selection.
“AFL Queensland has had a strong focus on developing women’s football over the last decade and this is further evidence of their commitment to making the QAFLW the state-league competition of choice.”
After a shortened 14 Round fixture in 2019, the changes have also allowed the Bond University QAFLW to expand to a 16 round season played across 23 weeks with the Grand Final scheduled for Sunday, August 2.
The 2020 QAFLW fixture will feature four competition-wide bye rounds to coincide with the Queensland Under 18 state representative camp on May 16-17 and the NAB AFL Women’s Under 18 National Championships on June 13-14 and July 4-5.
The full 2020 Bond University QAFLW fixture will be announced in the coming weeks.