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Why the AFLW is kicking goals on and off the field

The fifth season of the NAB AFLW competition continues to go from strength to strength in season 2021

THE FIFTH season of the NAB AFLW competition continues to go from strength to strength, with increases in attendances, digital consumption, club membership and on-field performance reaching new heights in season 2021.

On the field, supporters are witnessing a more open game with this season’s trends pointing to a more attacking style of football on display.

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Season five of the NAB AFL Women’s competition has seen less congestion and boundary play with data showing stoppages are down to 53.3 per game in 2021 compared to 57.9 in 2020. In addition, ball ups are down five per game, boundary throw ins are down 4.5 per game and tackling is down 6.5 per game.

Scoring continues to trend upwards, with teams averaging 35.4 points per game this season compared to 32.4 at this stage last year, with teams in last weekend’s round six matches averaging 43.1 points per game.

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Off the field, AFLW Membership has reached record numbers, registering 23,666 members to date in 2021 to eclipse 20,849 in 2020.

Eleven AFL clubs have also achieved record AFLW club membership, including Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Geelong, Gold Coast, Melbourne, North Melbourne, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs.

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Despite ongoing COVID-19 challenges, fans continue to flock to AFLW games around the country, with a total of 87,740 attendees across rounds 1-6.

The first-ever derby double-header saw strong crowd support last weekend, with 9,552 fans attending the round six AFLW match between state rivals West Coast and Fremantle.

Fans have also shown their support for elite female football at home, with TV ratings up three per cent year on year for per game average audience, including Foxtel per game average audience up six per cent through rounds 1-6.

Digital consumption also remains strong, with 1.1 million digital users engaging on AFLW platforms – an increase of 15 per cent compared to this time last season. This season, AFLW has seen more users tune in on a weekly basis, averaging over 220,000 digital users per week across its digital channels.

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AFL general manager of women’s football, Nicole Livingstone said it was pleasing to see continued growth of the NAB AFLW competition on and off the field.

"It’s fantastic to see football fans from across the country show their support for the NAB AFLW competition and get behind their teams, whether that be through club membership, attendance at games or tuning in at home, thanks to the continued support of our broadcast partners, Seven, Fox and Telstra," Ms Livingstone said.

"On the field, game trends show AFLW supporters are continuing to see a more open and attacking style of football in season five of the competition, with the athleticism and skills from both our experienced players and emerging talent continuing to deliver high quality football for everyone to enjoy.

"We’re proud the fifth season of AFLW has experienced a strong start, and we’re excited to see this energy for female football continue in the lead up to the 2021 NAB AFLW Finals Series."

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