The NAB AFL Women's competition is set to return bigger than ever before in 2021 with the GIANTS’ premiership campaign highlighted by key matches in Sydney and Canberra.
A return to Canberra and an additional four home games in Western Sydney headline the GIANTS’ 2021 AFLW fixture, announced on Friday.
The GIANTS will resume home games at Manuka Oval on March 6 following an absence in 2020 after the Cricket World Cup and COVID-19 saw the ACT unable to host GIANTS games this year.
The match will be part of a blockbuster weekend of GIANTS games in the nation’s capital with a men’s pre-season game to also be scheduled on the same weekend when the Marsh Community Series fixture is announced next week.
Today’s fixture also revealed a strong suite of home games at Blacktown (against Melbourne, the Brisbane Lions and the Western Bulldogs) as well as an AFL-AFLW double header against St Kilda on March 20 at GIANTS Stadium.
Interstate supporters will have the chance to watch the GIANTS up close when the team travels to play Fremantle (round one), Geelong (round four), Collingwood (round seven), and Adelaide (round nine).
The 2021 season will see the two-conference system scrapped and the competition reverting to a single ladder.
The nine-round home and away season will be followed by a three-week finals series, with the Grand Final scheduled to be played on the second weekend of April.
GIANTS Chief Executive David Matthews said the 2021 fixture has something for all GIANTS fans.
“We’re delighted to be playing games in Canberra again after not being able to play in front of our passionate ACT-based members in 2020,” Matthews said.
“To also have a number of our games in Western Sydney in the early rounds is terrific for our supporters; while a double header at GIANTS Stadium – following on from last year’s historic double header - will again be a fantastic event.
“There’s no doubt everyone involved with the AFLW competition was disappointed with how the 2020 season finished but we couldn’t be more excited by what promises to be another big season for our AFLW team in 2021.
“With the competition moving to ticketed games next season to ensure all venues are COVID safe, the club is currently working closely with the AFL to ensure our members continue to be provided with convenient and cost effective access to all games. We expect to be in a position to communicate further details regarding this next week.”
AFL Head of Women’s Football Nicole Livingstone said the fixture for the 2021 NAB AFL Women’s Competition features many new highlights including the inaugural AFLW Indigenous Round, the first Pride Round and the Toyota Good For Footy Round.
“The season kicks off in 48 days with Carlton and Collingwood, a return to the very first match of AFLW in 2017, and there is so much to look forward to from that opening night right through to the NAB AFLW Grand Final,” Ms. Livingstone said.
“Matches will be played right across the country with state-based and traditional rivalries being continued in 2021.
“We are proud to formally celebrate a Pride Round across the competition in Round Two and we recognise the leadership of the Carlton and Western Bulldogs Football Clubs who have paved the way with the Pride Game over recent years.
“The inclusion of Indigenous Round in Round Five is a truly significant milestone for the competition and an opportunity to celebrate and continue to learn from Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander players and staff in our game.
“The Toyota Good for Footy Round will be held during Round Nine of the season and will be the first joint themed-round across both the men’s and women’s competitions aimed at supporting local communities and growing the game at the grassroots.
“Where we can be more celebratory, where we can be more inclusive, where we can give back to the community, we will.”