EXPLAINER: How the 2020 AFLW fixture works

THE FIXTURE for the 2020 NAB AFLW season has been released, with 61 games to be rolled out over a 10-week season.

The addition of four new teams means there's a fair increase in season size on 2019, which saw Adelaide crowned premiers after 38 matches over nine weeks. 

It also makes for a more complicated fixture. 


12:15 Oct 30. 2019. 9:17 AM

Everything you need to know as the 2020 AFLW fixture is revealed

When does the season start?

Richmond and Carlton kick off the season on February 7 at Ikon Park at 7.40pm AEDT, with the rest of round one rolling out over that weekend. The eight-round home-and-away season will conclude with West Coast and St Kilda at Mineral Resources Park on March 29. 

Katie Brennan and the Tigers will open the 2020 NAB AFLW season against Carlton

Who does my side play?

Each side plays every team inside their own conference, as well as two 'crossover' games. See the full 2020 AFLW fixture here.

Wait, why can't we play everyone once?

As part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and in the interests of building the AFLW competition in a sustainable manner, the AFL and AFLPA have agreed this season should feature eight rounds. This is an increase of one week on the 2019 season. The 2020 season will see nine rounds, with 10 rounds played in 2021. 

Who's in our conference?

Conferences were decided using a snake pattern based on the final finishing positions in 2019. 

Adelaide were premiers so they went in conference A, Carlton as runners-up went to B, Fremantle finished third overall, so it is also in B, and fourth-placed Geelong finds itself in A. 

AFL head of women's football Nicole Livingstone confirmed this will be the system used for the 2021 and 2022 fixtures.

Conference A

Conference B

Adelaide (first in A in 2019, premiers)

Carlton (first in B in 2019, runners up)

Geelong (second in B in 2019, finalist)

Fremantle (second in A in 2019, finalist)

North Melbourne (third in A in 2019, five wins)

Melbourne (fourth in A in 2019, four wins)

Greater Western Sydney (third in B in 2019, two wins)

Western Bulldogs (fifth in A in 2019, two wins)

Brisbane (fourth in B in 2019, two wins)

Collingwood (fifth in B in 2019, one win)

Gold Coast (new team)

St Kilda (new team)

Richmond (new team)

West Coast (new team)


So how were the crossover matches determined?

Teams will play one side that is considered to be in the top four of the opposing conference, and one who is in the bottom four (the two new sides in each pool are considered teams six and seven). The team who is ranked fourth can fit in either the top or bottom four. 

How will the finals series work with an expanded competition?

The top three teams from each conference will qualify for finals. Teams that finish first in each pool will get a bye in the first week, while the rest fight it out for the right to play them in the preliminary finals.

Week one, April 4-5
Semi-final one: A2 v B3
Semi-final two: B2 v A3
Byes: A1, B1

Week two, April 11-12
Preliminary final one: A1 v winner of B2/A3
Preliminary final two: B1 v winner of A2/B3

Grand Final, April 18
Winners of preliminary finals

Adelaide's Deni Varnhagen with the 2019 AFLW premiership cup

Where will games be held?

In short, all over the country. The following grounds will host AFLW games for the first time:

  • The Gabba (Brisbane)
  • Giants Stadium (Sydney)
  • Arden Street Oval (North Melbourne)
  • Mineral Resources Park (Perth)
  • Richmond Oval (Adelaide)
  • RSEA Park (Moorabbin)
  • Swinburne Centre (Punt Road)
  • Great Barrier Reef Arena (Mackay)
  • Queen Elizabeth Oval (Bendigo)
  • Robertson Oval (Wagga Wagga)
Saints Georgia Patrikios, Emma Mackie and Kate McCarthy with AFL head of women's football Nicole Livingstone at RSEA Park

I just love watching footy, regardless of whether my team is playing or not. What are some of the blockbusters to look out for?

  • Adelaide unveiling its premiership flag at its first home game against St Kilda in round two
  • First AFLW Western Derby between West Coast and Fremantle in round two
  • Collingwood recruit Brianna Davey coming up against her former club Carlton, also in round two
  • Pride Match between Western Bulldogs and Carlton in round three
  • The first edition of the AFLW QClash between Gold Coast and Brisbane in round three
  • Grand Final rematch between Adelaide and Carlton in round four
  • The battle of the former new sides in Geelong and North Melbourne in round six
  • The first premiership points double-header, with GWS and Geelong playing in both the AFLW (round seven) and AFL (round one)
  • Fremantle will be keen to avenge its preliminary final loss to Carlton in its round eight clash at Marvel Stadium 

How will games be shown?

The Seven Network will show three matches a week on free-to-air television (either a combination of Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, or two on Saturday and one on Sunday), with Fox Sports airing all games. 

Matches will also be streamed on womens.afl and on the AFLW Official App.  

Who doesn't my side play? (Or, have we avoided reigning premier Adelaide?)

Adelaide: Collingwood, Fremantle, Melbourne, West Coast, Western Bulldogs 

Brisbane: Carlton, Melbourne, St Kilda, West Coast, Western Bulldogs

Carlton: Brisbane, Geelong, Gold Coast, GWS, North Melbourne 

Collingwood: Adelaide, North Melbourne, Gold Coast, GWS, Richmond 

Fremantle: Adelaide, North Melbourne, Gold Coast, GWS, Richmond

Geelong: Carlton, Melbourne, St Kilda, West Coast, Western Bulldogs 

Gold Coast: Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs 

GWS: Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Melbourne, St Kilda 

Melbourne: Adelaide, Brisbane, Geelong, GWS, Richmond 

North Melbourne: Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, St Kilda, West Coast

Richmond: Collingwood, Fremantle, Melbourne, West Coast, Western Bulldogs 

St Kilda: Brisbane, Geelong, Gold Coast, GWS, North Melbourne 

West Coast: Adelaide, Brisbane, Geelong, North Melbourne, Richmond

Western Bulldogs: Adelaide, Brisbane, Geelong, Gold Coast, Richmond