The upcoming AFLW season has been pushed back by four weeks, as announced by the AFL this morning.
The decision comes amid the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and extended lockdowns, with the pre-season to now begin on October 13, and the season proper on the weekend of January 6-9.
Season six of the AFLW competition was previously scheduled to commence in December.
Moving the season back will aim to allow greater flexibility and less disruptions for everyone involved in the upcoming 2022 season, while maintaining the priority of protecting the health and safety of the competition and wider community.
AFL General Manager Women’s Football Nicole Livingstone said the league was looking forward to season six, and reinforced the health and safety of the community remained the priority for the league.
“This year’s NAB AFLW Competition saw the best season yet with the quality of the game continuing to attract supporters and inspire hundreds of thousands of girls and women to play football,” Ms Livingstone said.
“The 2021 season was also the most challenging yet due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affecting all but two rounds of the competition.
“As we prepare for Season Six, we know the nature of playing professional sport in a pandemic means we will continue to be presented with challenges in the lead up to and during the season and, as a result, have made the decision for the NAB AFLW Competition to commence in January next year.”
Ms Livingstone said the league remained committed to completing a full 10-round season plus finals – an increase from nine rounds in 2021 – and would continue to communicate with all clubs and players as soon as decisions were made.