The AFLW started its 2019 season over the weekend past and from all appearances, seems to remain on an upward trajectory.
That is the conclusion easily drawn from the sight of 18,000 fans who turned out to see Geelong play its first game against Collingwood at GMHBA Stadium.
Scoring is perhaps a bit lower than the league would prefer. The Cats won the match with Richmond on Saturday night 24 – 23.
Fremantle managed to put up 59, but they needed to in order to beat the 55 Melbourne was scoring.
The only game that was not competitive was the game between North Melbourne and Carlton, where the Kangaroos heaped 52 on the Blues to run away 52 – 16.
Five games were played. Throwing out the North Melbourne sledging of the Carlton side, the total point differential of the other four games was eight points.
So, while the league may not be happy, the bookies have to love the sorts of results the weekend supplied.
The AFLW still has some challenges with which to deal going forward. The two biggest are securing adequate funding and visibility.
The games are attractive to fans, because other than when scheduled as a double-header before a men’s game, are free to attend.
The record for largest stand-alone women’s sporting even in Australian history goes to the 42,000 who went through the gates for last year’s contest between Fremantle and Collingwood. Those fans paid a $2 entry fee. Some of the turnout was no doubt due to the shiny new Optus Stadium, but try getting so many to show up for a monster truck rally and it might require paying people to attend.
The bigger challenge is securing sponsorships, where the competition for dollars is fierce. There is also a need for a broadcast agreement much better than the one handed to Channel Seven and Foxtel. The broadcasters received the broadcasting rights free.