LOCKED IN: Traditions old and new headline AFLW season seven fixture

THE AFLW season opener will once again feature Carlton and Collingwood at Ikon Park to kickstart Season Seven of the AFLW in August.

The clash between traditional rivals - which usually is the first game of each AFLW season will be held on Thursday, August 25 and will launch a big first round of footy.

Round one will feature some big clashes, including a Grand Final rematch between Adelaide and Melbourne at Norwood Oval on Friday evening and finalists Brisbane and Fremantle on the Gabba main stage on Sunday, while all four expansion teams will launch their AFLW programs on Saturday. 

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Indigenous Round will span across rounds three and four and will feature the first ever AFLW Dreamtime game between Essendon and Richmond in round four.  

Essendon and Hawthorn will open the next chapter of a historic rivalry when the brand new women's sides face off at Port Melbourne's ETU Stadium on Saturday evening, while Port Adelaide will travel to WA to take on West Coast at Mineral Resources Park and Sydney will host St Kilda at North Sydney Oval and in the evening slot.

Good For Footy round will take place in round six, while Pride Round will feature a Saturday double header at Ikon Park in round eight.  

The QClash will take place at the Gabba in round three, with the first ever Sydney Derby at the SCG that same day – times are still to be confirmed based around the men's finals fixture. All Saturday fixtures in September will remain floating in order to maximise double header opportunities.  

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AFL GM Competition Management Laura Kane speaks to Nat Edwards about the AFLW Season Seven fixture

West Coast and Fremantle will play the fifth AFLW Western Derby in round five at Optus Stadium, and the first AFLW Showdown is slated for round six at Adelaide Oval. 

There will be plenty of footy to enjoy on Friday, September 23rd – the AFL Grand Final public holiday in Victoria – with four games back-to-back and largely within the MCG precinct. Two games will be played at Punt Road Oval, while both the AIA Centre (Olympic Park) and Ikon Park will host games throughout the day.  

Just one game will be played on AFL Grand Final day, where Richmond and Brisbane will face off at Punt Road Oval from 11:10am AEST before the men's festivities kick off nearby that afternoon. 

A general view of Punt Road Oval during round eight, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Rounds six to nine will feature two matches on a Friday night. 

The coveted Hampson-Hardeman cup will be contested between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs in round seven, where Melbourne will enjoy its home ground advantage of Casey Fields for the first time between the clubs.

Fremantle is set to spend plenty of time on the road, fixtured to play across five states/territories across the ten-round home and away season, while Richmond will leave Victoria just once, albeit their fixture does include a home game in Mildura and a trip to Geelong. 

Thirty-three different venues are slated to be used, including new venues like Kombumerri Park in Queensland, Reid Oval in Warrnambool, Box Hill City Oval and Alberton Oval, where Hawthorn and Port Adelaide respectively will host games. 

Lisa Hardeman presents Ellie Blackburn with the Hampson-Hardeman Cup during round four, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

"We've fixtured some of the biggest matches at metro stadiums, with the Gabba, SCG, Optus Stadium and Adelaide Oval set to host local derbies in season seven. We're also playing at suburban grounds, bringing the game closer to even more fans, with matches in Ballarat, Warrnambool, Mildura, and Mackay," AFL General Manager Competitions Laura Kane said.  

Brisbane will also play at Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex for the first time since 2019 as they wait for their new home ground to be ready in Springfield. 

Richmond and Adelaide will face off for the first time in AFLW history in round two, but matchups of existing clubs, Carlton/West Coast, Collingwood/Gold Coast and Melbourne/Geelong are still yet to be fixtured. 

As in the men's competition, round ten will remain a floating fixture until closer to the date.

With the increase to an 18-team competition, the final series will stretch over four weeks for season seven with the top eight sides making finals.

Brisbane players celebrate a goal during the qualifying final against Collingwood on March 27, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"Season Seven is shaping up to be a thrilling fourteen weeks of elite football. We have 540 athletes ready to do battle, with new and old rivalries ignited, the next generation of talent ready to shine, and our game’s superstars preparing for our biggest season yet," AFL General Manager Women's Football Nicole Livingstone said.    

"History will be made with Hawthorn, Sydney Swans, Port Adelaide, and Essendon entering the competition – and we’re challenging every footy fan and supporter of women’s sport to show up and support our athletes.  

"With the 18-team competition now whole I want to acknowledge the role of every woman’s football pioneer – player, administrator, umpire, coach, volunteer, supporter – whose commitment and passion to women’s football has accelerated the development of the AFLW since its inception in 2017."