The NAB AFLW Season Seven was officially launched last night, with the league's 18 club Captains coming together alongside the industry's elite to celebrate the advancement of the women's competition.
The launch was also attended by the clubs' coaches and officials, AFL figures including CEO Gillon McLachlan, General Manager of Women's Football Nicole Livingstone, AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh and key members of the media and industry.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said it was a historic moment in the league's history.
"I want to take a moment to acknowledge everyone who has helped get us to this historic moment: the trailblazers, corporate and broadcast partners, believers, clubs, coaches, captains, governments, and passionate fans. It’s because of you, that I get to stand here and say, ‘the competition is finally complete with all 18 clubs represented for the first time,” Mr McLachlan said.
"It brings me immense pride to welcome Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and the Sydney Swans to round out our 18-teams. When you run out in Round One in just over a week’s time, you will all write an exciting new chapter in your club’s rich history and join our elite women’s competition that has been - up until this point - not so quietly writing its own history."
AFL General Manager Women's Football, Nicole Livingstone, announced the Season Seven NAB AFLW Premiership Cup Ambassador, AFLW Premiership player and Seven Network commentator, Abbey Holmes.
"Abbey is true trailblazer on and off the field - an inaugural premiership player with the Adelaide Crows who has become a household name with her expert commentary and analysis on Seven.
"Abbey was drafted in 2016 to the Adelaide Football Club and went on to being a part of the first-ever AFLW Premiership side awarded in 2017. Since then, she has turned her on-field passion into a stellar career in sports broadcasting as a part of the Seven Network's commentary team for both the men's and women's competition," Ms Livingstone said.
"Not just limiting herself to elite football, Abbey continues to work closely with AFL NT and the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre, as a passionate advocate for Indigenous pathways in both football and education.
"Abbey represents AFLW in every way - she's forged her own career path in football and is doing the same for other female players and budding media talent in the process.
"We are thrilled to be honouring Abbey as the NAB AFLW Season Seven Premiership Cup Ambassador and thank her for her dedication to women's football."
NAB Group Executive for Personal Banking, Rachel Slade said, “This year marks NAB’s 20th year of partnership with the AFL, and we are proud to continue supporting the game at all levels; from NAB AFL Auskick to the NAB AFLW Competition. It is an exciting time for the future of women’s sport – momentum isn’t a given and I encourage everyone to cheer loudly and celebrate what is going to be a great season.”
In what is shaping up to the be strongest NAB AFLW season yet, all eyes are now looking toward next Thursday night's blockbuster between Carlton and Collingwood at Ikon Park, as well as the hotly anticipated Round One clash between newcomers Essendon and Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium.