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AFL Women’s will expand in 2019

THE AFL has shut down plans for immediate expansion of its national women’s league, but has foreshadowed at least two teams will be added in 2019.
The five clubs who unsuccessfully sought a licence last year will receive “priority weighting” when the AFL considers additions to the foundation eight-team competition.
But the door has been opened to the five clubs who originally did not seek a women’s team to now leapfrog the “priority” candidates.
The AFL announced that its commission had determined that the talent pool — comprising about 220 players in AFLW01 — and fan base would not support extra teams in 2018.
A decision on the expansion teams for 2019 would be made mid-year, the AFL said.
Geelong and St Kilda had led the charge to be included for 2018, with Richmond, North Melbourne and West Coast also having previously been granted provisional licences after missing out on AFLW01.
Hawthorn and Essendon were the two Victorian clubs who did not apply for an original AFLW team.
Cats chief executive Brian Cook said Geelong — which is fielding a VFL Women’s team this season — wanted the next available licence.
“Our club is obviously disappointed that there will not be a Geelong Cats team competing in the 2018 AFLW season,” Cook said.
“We believe we made a good case for expansion. We will be doing all we can to join the AFLW as soon as possible. We look forward to the day that the AFLW is a league with a Geelong team.”
Lethlean said the competition will stay in the late-January to early-March timeslot and entry to stand-alone games will remain free.
Lethlean also revealed super goals could be introduced and the finals could be expanded from a Grand Final only. A two-week series has been mooted.
The AFLW02 free agency and trade period will open on Monday with clubs having already delisted some players.
Melbourne was the best performed of the four Victorian clubs in AFLW01, ahead of Carlton, Collingwood and Western Bulldogs. Adelaide defeated Brisbane in the Grand Final to claim the inaugural crown.

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