Preview | VFLW 2023 Round 1: New season, so many new elements
IT is once again the dawn of a new season in the VFL Women’s competition.
The third of the women’s state leagues to get underway this year, it is arguably the most important year for the competition in at least the last few years for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the AFLW Overage Draft set to take place in early April. Even though only two rounds will have taken place before the draft on April 4, with no under-age players to compete with for spots this may be the last chance for some state leaguers to make it onto an AFLW list. They have to impress and impress fast.
The other reason is the timing of the season in relation to the AFLW season.
With the VFLW season running completely separate from the AFLW season again, it changes the mindset of teams, players and coaches alike.
There has been plenty of player movement in the offseason. While some clubs have been harder hit than others, everyone has still had plenty of list turnover.
Some players have joined new clubs after being delisted from AFLW clubs in the hope of a new start, like former AFLW Blue now VFLW Cat Poppy Schaap, who returns to her home region.
Some have moved VFLW clubs in hopes of improving their chances to get on an AFLW list, like former Bomber turned Roo Marianna Anthony.
There are players who have even moved across the country to join the competition, like new Borough Keely Byrne, who has come across east from West Perth in the WAFLW.
There are also several new faces from Ireland in the competition, no doubt hoping to emulate the likes of Cora Staunton and Sinead Goldrick and make their mark on the AFLW someday.
This includes the likes of new Saint Jane Moore, new Blue Joyce Dunne, and Dees quartet Ciara Sexton, Ciara Burke, Niamh O’Neill and Siobhan Sheerin.
With all this in mind, it is hard to predict how this season will unfold.
For example reigning premiers Essendon are essentially a brand new side, so will not necessarily be able to dominate like they did in 2022.
Meanwhile, Williamstown looks like a much more exciting prospect on the park than was possible in 2022.
Also, with so many new players in every team, it is impossible to tell how the teams will go.
But that just adds to the excitement and intrigue of what is no doubt going to be an extremely entertaining season regardless.
VFL Women’s Round 1 Fixture
Carlton vs Port Melbourne – Tomorrow, 2pm @ Ikon Park
Darebin vs Southern Saints – Tomorrow, 3pm @ La Trobe University
Geelong vs North Melbourne – Tomorrow, 3pm @ Deakin Uni, Geelong
Collingwood vs Williamstown – Tomorrow, 3pm @ Victoria Park
Essendon vs Box Hill – Sunday, 11am @ The Hangar
Western Bulldogs vs Casey – Sunday, 12:30pm @ Mars Stadium